Is Karin Technology Holdings Limited (SGX:K29) Investing Effectively In Its Business?

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Today we are going to look at Karin Technology Holdings Limited (SGX:K29) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that ‘one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar’.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

Or for Karin Technology Holdings:

0.086 = HK$36m ÷ (HK$992m – HK$568m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Karin Technology Holdings has an ROCE of 8.6%.

See our latest analysis for Karin Technology Holdings

Is Karin Technology Holdings’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Karin Technology Holdings’s ROCE appears to be around the 8.9% average of the Electronic industry. Separate from how Karin Technology Holdings stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

You can see in the image below how Karin Technology Holdings’s ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

SGX:K29 Past Revenue and Net Income, July 23rd 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. If Karin Technology Holdings is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

How Karin Technology Holdings’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. Due to the way ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Karin Technology Holdings has total assets of HK$992m and current liabilities of HK$568m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 57% of its total assets. Karin Technology Holdings’s current liabilities are fairly high, making its ROCE look better than otherwise.

Our Take On Karin Technology Holdings’s ROCE

Despite this, the company also has a uninspiring ROCE, which is not an ideal combination in this analysis. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.

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