Has MMP Industries Limited (NSE:MMP) Been Employing Capital Shrewdly?

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Today we’ll evaluate MMP Industries Limited (NSE:MMP) 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.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

What is 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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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?

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 MMP Industries:

0.15 = ₹271m ÷ (₹2.3b – ₹424m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, MMP Industries has an ROCE of 15%.

Check out our latest analysis for MMP Industries

Does MMP Industries Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see MMP Industries’s ROCE is around the 14% average reported by the Metals and Mining industry. Aside from the industry comparison, MMP Industries’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.

MMP Industries’s current ROCE of 15% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 37% ROCE. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

NSEI:MMP Past Revenue and Net Income, June 26th 2019
NSEI:MMP Past Revenue and Net Income, June 26th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Remember that most companies like MMP Industries are cyclical businesses. If MMP Industries is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

MMP Industries’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

MMP Industries has total liabilities of ₹424m and total assets of ₹2.3b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 19% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

Our Take On MMP Industries’s ROCE

If MMP Industries continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. You might be able to find a better investment than MMP Industries. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.