What Should Investors Know About The Mosaic Company’s (NYSE:MOS) Return On Capital?

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and looking to gauge the potential return on investment in The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS).

Mosaic stock represents an ownership share in the company. Owing to this, it is important that the underlying business is producing a sufficient amount of income from the capital invested by stockholders. You need to pay attention to this because your return on investment is linked to dividends and internal investments to improve the business, which can only occur if the company is expected to produce adequate earnings with the capital that has been provided. Thus, to understand how your money can grow by investing in Mosaic, you need to look at what the company returns to owners for the use of their capital, which can be done in many ways but today we will use return on capital employed (ROCE).

View our latest analysis for Mosaic

Calculating Return On Capital Employed for MOS

Choosing to invest in Mosaic comes at the cost of investing in another potentially favourable company. Accordingly, before you invest you need to assess the capital returns that the company has produced with reference to a certain benchmark to ensure that you are confident in the business’ ability to grow your capital at a level that grants an investment over other companies. To determine Mosaic’s capital return we will use ROCE, which tells us how much the company makes from the capital employed in their operations (for things like machinery, wages etc). MOS’s ROCE is calculated below:

ROCE Calculation for MOS

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) = Earnings Before Tax (EBT) ÷ (Capital Employed)

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US$579m ÷ (US$20b – US$2.5b) = 5.0%

As you can see, MOS earned $5 from every $100 you invested over the previous twelve months. This shows Mosaic provides a dull capital return that is below the 15% ROCE that is typically considered to be a strong benchmark. Nevertheless, if MOS is clever with their reinvestments or dividend payments, investors can still grow their capital but may fall behind other more attractive opportunities in the market.

NYSE:MOS Last Perf November 23rd 18
NYSE:MOS Last Perf November 23rd 18

A deeper look

Although Mosaic is in an unfavourable position, you should know that this could change if the company is able to increase earnings on the same capital base or find new efficiencies that require less capital to produce earnings. Therefore, investors need to understand the trend of the inputs in the formula above, so that they can see if there is an opportunity to invest. Looking three years in the past, it is evident that MOS’s ROCE has deteriorated from 9.8%, indicating the company’s capital returns have declined. With this, the current earnings of US$579m actually declined from US$1.4b whilst capital employed has increased due to a rise in total assets employed , which means the company’s ROCE has shrunk as a result of falling earnings and simultaneous increases in capital requirements.

Next Steps

MOS’s investors have experienced a downward trend in ROCE and it is currently at a level that makes us question whether the company is capable of providing a suitable return on investment. But don’t forget, return on capital employed is a static metric that should be looked at in conjunction with other fundamental indicators like future prospects and valuation. If you’re interested in diving deeper, take a look at what I’ve linked below for further information on these fundamentals and other potential investment opportunities.

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for MOS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for MOS’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is MOS worth today? Despite the unattractive ROCE, is the outlook correctly factored in to the price? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether MOS is currently undervalued by the market.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.