Why You Should Like Exco Technologies Limited’s (TSE:XTC) ROCE

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Today we’ll evaluate Exco Technologies Limited (TSE:XTC) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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 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. 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’.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 Exco Technologies:

0.16 = CA$55m ÷ (CA$453m – CA$99m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Exco Technologies has an ROCE of 16%.

View our latest analysis for Exco Technologies

Does Exco Technologies Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Exco Technologies’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.4% average in the Machinery industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where Exco Technologies sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

Exco Technologies’s current ROCE of 16% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 25%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

TSX:XTC Last Perf February 11th 19
TSX:XTC Last Perf February 11th 19

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. 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.

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. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Exco Technologies has total assets of CA$453m and current liabilities of CA$99m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 22% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On Exco Technologies’s ROCE

Overall, Exco Technologies has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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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.