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Is Ingenico Group - GCS (EPA:ING) Investing Effectively In Its Business?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Ingenico Group - GCS (EPA:ING) and reflect on its potential as an investment. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

First of all, we'll work out how to 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.

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

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.

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 Ingenico Group - GCS:

0.075 = €352m ÷ (€7.5b - €2.8b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Ingenico Group - GCS has an ROCE of 7.5%.

See our latest analysis for Ingenico Group - GCS

Does Ingenico Group - GCS Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, Ingenico Group - GCS's ROCE appears to be around the 7.6% average of the Electronic industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Ingenico Group - GCS's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

Ingenico Group - GCS's current ROCE of 7.5% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 14%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Ingenico Group - GCS's past growth compares to other companies.

ENXTPA:ING Past Revenue and Net Income, November 5th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Ingenico Group - GCS.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Ingenico Group - GCS's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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.

Ingenico Group - GCS has total assets of €7.5b and current liabilities of €2.8b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 37% of its total assets. Ingenico Group - GCS's middling level of current liabilities have the effect of boosting its ROCE a bit.

What We Can Learn From Ingenico Group - GCS's ROCE

With this level of liabilities and a mediocre ROCE, there are potentially better investments out there. You might be able to find a better investment than Ingenico Group - GCS. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.