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Is Terveystalo Oyj (HEL:TTALO) Investing Your Capital Efficiently?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Terveystalo Oyj (HEL:TTALO) 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 Terveystalo Oyj:

0.067 = €74m ÷ (€1.4b - €266m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Terveystalo Oyj has an ROCE of 6.7%.

Check out our latest analysis for Terveystalo Oyj

Does Terveystalo Oyj Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, Terveystalo Oyj's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 8.5% average in the Healthcare industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Terveystalo Oyj's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

In our analysis, Terveystalo Oyj's ROCE appears to be 6.7%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 3.8%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can see in the image below how Terveystalo Oyj's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

HLSE:TTALO Past Revenue and Net Income, October 1st 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. 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.

How Terveystalo Oyj'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 the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Terveystalo Oyj has total liabilities of €266m and total assets of €1.4b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 20% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Terveystalo Oyj's ROCE

That said, Terveystalo Oyj's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. 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 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.