Are Ocean Yield ASA’s (OB:OCY) Returns On Investment Worth Your While?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Today we’ll evaluate Ocean Yield ASA (OB:OCY) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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?

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 Ocean Yield:

0.075 = US$184m ÷ (US$2.7b – US$270m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Ocean Yield has an ROCE of 7.5%.

See our latest analysis for Ocean Yield

Is Ocean Yield’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. It appears that Ocean Yield’s ROCE is fairly close to the Energy Services industry average of 8.0%. Separate from how Ocean Yield stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

OB:OCY Past Revenue and Net Income, May 3rd 2019
OB:OCY Past Revenue and Net Income, May 3rd 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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 Ocean Yield are cyclical businesses. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Ocean Yield.

How Ocean Yield’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Ocean Yield has total assets of US$2.7b and current liabilities of US$270m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 9.9% of its total assets. With low levels of current liabilities, at least Ocean Yield’s mediocre ROCE is not unduly boosted.

The Bottom Line On Ocean Yield’s ROCE

If performance improves, then Ocean Yield may be an OK investment, especially at the right valuation. 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 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.