Is Ocean Yield ASA (OB:OCY) Better Than Average At Deploying Capital?

Today we’ll evaluate Ocean Yield ASA (OB:OCY) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared 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 measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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’.

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:

0.06 = US$145m ÷ (US$2.8b – US$390m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Ocean Yield has an ROCE of 6.0%.

See our latest analysis for Ocean Yield

Is Ocean Yield’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see Ocean Yield’s ROCE is around the 7.4% average reported by the Energy Services industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Ocean Yield’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

OB:OCY Past Revenue and Net Income, August 6th 2019
OB:OCY Past Revenue and Net Income, August 6th 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. Given the industry it operates in, Ocean Yield could be considered cyclical. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Ocean Yield.

Ocean Yield’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. Due to the way ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Ocean Yield has total assets of US$2.8b and current liabilities of US$390m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 14% 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 Ocean Yield’s ROCE

That said, Ocean Yield’s ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. 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.