Exco Technologies Limited (TSE:XTC) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Today we’ll evaluate Exco Technologies Limited (TSE:XTC) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First of all, we’ll work out how to 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. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 Exco Technologies:

0.15 = CA$53m ÷ (CA$430m – CA$70m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Exco Technologies has an ROCE of 15%.

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Is Exco Technologies’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Exco Technologies’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 11% average in the Machinery industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how Exco Technologies compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

TSX:XTC Past Revenue and Net Income, May 22nd 2019
TSX:XTC Past Revenue and Net Income, May 22nd 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Exco Technologies.

How Exco Technologies’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 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.

Exco Technologies has total assets of CA$430m and current liabilities of CA$70m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 16% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Exco Technologies’s ROCE

Overall, Exco Technologies has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Exco Technologies 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.