Here’s What Questor Technology Inc.’s (CVE:QST) ROCE Can Tell Us

Today we’ll evaluate Questor Technology Inc. (CVE:QST) 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.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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?

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 Questor Technology:

0.34 = CA$11m ÷ (CA$38m – CA$4.7m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Questor Technology has an ROCE of 34%.

See our latest analysis for Questor Technology

Does Questor Technology Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Questor Technology’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 7.2% average in the Energy Services industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Questor Technology’s ROCE is currently very good.

Questor Technology has an ROCE of 34%, but it didn’t have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. That suggests the business has returned to profitability. Take a look at the image below to see how Questor Technology’s past growth compares to the average in its industry.

TSXV:QST Past Revenue and Net Income, September 20th 2019
TSXV:QST Past Revenue and Net Income, September 20th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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 only a point-in-time measure. Given the industry it operates in, Questor Technology could be considered cyclical. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Do Questor Technology’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Questor Technology has total liabilities of CA$4.7m and total assets of CA$38m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 12% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

Our Take On Questor Technology’s ROCE

, Questor Technology shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

I will like Questor Technology better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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.