Oryx Petroleum Corporation Limited (TSE:OXC) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Today we’ll look at Oryx Petroleum Corporation Limited (TSE:OXC) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 Oryx Petroleum:

0.097 = US$73m ÷ (US$822m – US$64m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Oryx Petroleum has an ROCE of 9.7%.

Check out our latest analysis for Oryx Petroleum

Does Oryx Petroleum Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Oryx Petroleum’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 5.7% average in the Oil and Gas industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Separate from how Oryx Petroleum stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

Oryx Petroleum delivered an ROCE of 9.7%, which is better than 3 years ago, as was making losses back then. That implies the business has been improving.

TSX:OXC Past Revenue and Net Income, September 3rd 2019
TSX:OXC Past Revenue and Net Income, September 3rd 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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 only a point-in-time measure. Remember that most companies like Oryx Petroleum are cyclical businesses. You can check if Oryx Petroleum has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Oryx Petroleum’s ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Oryx Petroleum has total liabilities of US$64m and total assets of US$822m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 7.8% of its total assets. With low levels of current liabilities, at least Oryx Petroleum’s mediocre ROCE is not unduly boosted.

The Bottom Line On Oryx Petroleum’s ROCE

Based on this information, Oryx Petroleum appears to be a mediocre business. 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.

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.