Why Revoil S.A.’s (ATH:REVOIL) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

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Today we’ll look at Revoil S.A. (ATH:REVOIL) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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.’

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 Revoil:

0.12 = €3.3m ÷ (€104m – €71m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

Therefore, Revoil has an ROCE of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Revoil

Is Revoil’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Revoil’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 9.5% average in the Oil and Gas industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Aside from the industry comparison, Revoil’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.

In our analysis, Revoil’s ROCE appears to be 12%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 1.1%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

ATSE:REVOIL Past Revenue and Net Income, February 19th 2019
ATSE:REVOIL Past Revenue and Net Income, February 19th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. We note Revoil could be considered a cyclical business. You can check if Revoil has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Revoil’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Revoil has total liabilities of €71m and total assets of €104m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 69% of its total assets. Revoil has a fairly high level of current liabilities, meaningfully impacting its ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Revoil’s ROCE

Despite this, the company also has a uninspiring ROCE, which is not an ideal combination in this analysis. But note: Revoil may not be the best stock to buy. 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. On rare occasion, data errors may occur. Thank you for reading.