Evaluating Hexcel Corporation’s (NYSE:HXL) Investments In Its Business

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Today we’ll evaluate Hexcel Corporation (NYSE:HXL) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

What is 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Hexcel:

0.14 = US$392m ÷ (US$3.2b – US$350m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Hexcel has an ROCE of 14%.

See our latest analysis for Hexcel

Is Hexcel’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, Hexcel’s ROCE appears to be around the 12% average of the Aerospace & Defense industry. Independently of how Hexcel compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NYSE:HXL Past Revenue and Net Income, June 11th 2019
NYSE:HXL Past Revenue and Net Income, June 11th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Hexcel.

How Hexcel’s Current Liabilities Impact Its 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Hexcel has total liabilities of US$350m and total assets of US$3.2b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 11% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Hexcel’s ROCE

With that in mind, Hexcel’s ROCE appears pretty good. Hexcel 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 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.