A Close Look At Corsa Coal Corp.’s (CVE:CSO) 5.6% ROCE

Today we’ll look at Corsa Coal Corp. (CVE:CSO) 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. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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.

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 Corsa Coal:

0.056 = US$13m ÷ (US$283m – US$49m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Corsa Coal has an ROCE of 5.6%.

View our latest analysis for Corsa Coal

Does Corsa Coal Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that Corsa Coal’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 3.5% average in the Metals and Mining industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Aside from the industry comparison, Corsa Coal’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.

Corsa Coal reported an ROCE of 5.6% — better than 3 years ago, when the company didn’t make a profit. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. Take a look at the image below to see how Corsa Coal’s past growth compares to the average in its industry.

TSXV:CSO Past Revenue and Net Income, October 11th 2019
TSXV:CSO Past Revenue and Net Income, October 11th 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 only a point-in-time measure. We note Corsa Coal could be considered a cyclical business. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Corsa Coal.

Do Corsa Coal’s Current Liabilities Skew 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. Due to the way ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Corsa Coal has total assets of US$283m and current liabilities of US$49m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 18% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Corsa Coal’s ROCE

If Corsa Coal continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. You might be able to find a better investment than Corsa Coal. 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 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.