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Brembo S.p.A. (BIT:BRE) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

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Today we are going to look at Brembo S.p.A. (BIT:BRE) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the 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'.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Brembo:

0.19 = €324m ÷ (€2.7b - €1.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Brembo has an ROCE of 19%.

See our latest analysis for Brembo

Is Brembo's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Brembo's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 8.8% average in the Auto Components industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of where Brembo sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

Brembo's current ROCE of 19% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 26%, 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. The image below shows how Brembo's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

BIT:BRE Past Revenue and Net Income, July 1st 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Brembo's ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Brembo has total liabilities of €1.0b and total assets of €2.7b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 37% of its total assets. Brembo has a middling amount of current liabilities, increasing its ROCE somewhat.

Our Take On Brembo's ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. Brembo looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

I will like Brembo better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.