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Should You Like WNS (Holdings) Limited’s (NYSE:WNS) High Return On Capital Employed?

Ajay Mannan

Today we’ll look at WNS (Holdings) Limited ( NYSE:WNS ) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. 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 WNS (Holdings):

0.19 = US$80m ÷ (US$748m – US$157m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, WNS (Holdings) has an ROCE of 19%.

Check out our latest analysis for WNS (Holdings)

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Does WNS (Holdings) Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In our analysis, WNS (Holdings)’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 9.9% average in the IT industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where WNS (Holdings) sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.


NYSE:WNS Last Perf January 20th 19

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during 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 .

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect WNS (Holdings)’s ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

WNS (Holdings) has total assets of US$748m and current liabilities of US$157m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 21% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On WNS (Holdings)’s ROCE

Overall, WNS (Holdings) has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. You might be able to find a better buy than WNS (Holdings). 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).

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

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com .