Is Peyto Exploration & Development Corp.’s (TSE:PEY) 6.7% Return On Capital Employed Good News?

Today we’ll evaluate Peyto Exploration & Development Corp. (TSE:PEY) 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. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. 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?

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 Peyto Exploration & Development:

0.067 = CA$231m ÷ (CA$3.7b – CA$244m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Peyto Exploration & Development has an ROCE of 6.7%.

View our latest analysis for Peyto Exploration & Development

Does Peyto Exploration & Development Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. It appears that Peyto Exploration & Development’s ROCE is fairly close to the Oil and Gas industry average of 6.4%. Aside from the industry comparison, Peyto Exploration & Development’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

TSX:PEY Past Revenue and Net Income, April 21st 2019
TSX:PEY Past Revenue and Net Income, April 21st 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. 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. Remember that most companies like Peyto Exploration & Development are cyclical businesses. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Peyto Exploration & Development’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Peyto Exploration & Development has total liabilities of CA$244m and total assets of CA$3.7b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 6.6% of its total assets. Peyto Exploration & Development reports few current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its unremarkable ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Peyto Exploration & Development’s ROCE

Peyto Exploration & Development looks like an ok business, but on this analysis it is not at the top of our buy list. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.