Is Teekay Tankers Ltd. (NYSE:TNK) Investing Your Capital Efficiently?

Today we’ll look at Teekay Tankers Ltd. (NYSE:TNK) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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.

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.

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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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’.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 Teekay Tankers:

0.056 = US$109m ÷ (US$2.2b – US$288m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, Teekay Tankers has an ROCE of 5.6%.

View our latest analysis for Teekay Tankers

Does Teekay Tankers Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Teekay Tankers’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 7.3% average in the Oil and Gas industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Teekay Tankers’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.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Teekay Tankers’s past growth compares to other companies.

NYSE:TNK Past Revenue and Net Income, March 24th 2020
NYSE:TNK Past Revenue and Net Income, March 24th 2020

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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 Teekay Tankers are cyclical businesses. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Teekay Tankers’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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Teekay Tankers has current liabilities of US$288m and total assets of US$2.2b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 13% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On Teekay Tankers’s ROCE

That said, Teekay Tankers’s ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Teekay Tankers. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

I will like Teekay Tankers better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.