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Has Infineon Technologies AG (ETR:IFX) Been Employing Capital Shrewdly?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Infineon Technologies AG (ETR:IFX) 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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?

Analysts use this formula to calculate return on capital employed:

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

Or for Infineon Technologies:

0.096 = €1.0b ÷ (€13b - €2.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Infineon Technologies has an ROCE of 9.6%.

View our latest analysis for Infineon Technologies

Does Infineon Technologies Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In this analysis, Infineon Technologies's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 13% average reported by the Semiconductor industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Regardless of where Infineon Technologies sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Infineon Technologies's past growth compares to other companies.

XTRA:IFX Past Revenue and Net Income, November 7th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Infineon Technologies's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Infineon Technologies has total assets of €13b and current liabilities of €2.1b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 16% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Infineon Technologies's ROCE

Overall, Infineon Technologies has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Infineon Technologies 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.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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.