What Should Investors Know About Ormat Technologies Inc’s (NYSE:ORA) Capital Returns?

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to better understand how you can grow your money by investing in Ormat Technologies Inc (NYSE:ORA).

Purchasing Ormat Technologies gives you an ownership stake in the company. Your equity share is granted in return for the capital provided to the business to operate, and in order for an investment to be successful the business has to create earnings from the funds that make up this capital. Your return is tied to ORA’s ability to do this because the amount earned is used to invest in opportunities to grow the business or payout dividends, which are the two sources of return on investment. To understand Ormat Technologies’s capital returns we will look at a useful metric called return on capital employed. This will tell us if the company is growing your capital and placing you in good stead to sell your shares at a profit.

View our latest analysis for Ormat Technologies

What is Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)?

As an investor you have many alternative companies to choose from, which means there is an opportunity cost in any investment you make in the form of a foregone investment in another 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. A good metric to use is return on capital employed (ROCE), which helps us gauge how much income can be created from the funds needed to operate the business. This metric will tell us if Ormat Technologies is good at growing investor capital. I have calculated Ormat Technologies’s ROCE for you below:

ROCE Calculation for ORA

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

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US$128m ÷ (US$3.1b – US$396m) = 6.4%

As you can see, ORA earned $6.4 from every $100 you invested over the previous twelve months. This shows Ormat Technologies provides a dull capital return that is below the 15% ROCE that is typically considered to be a strong benchmark. Nevertheless, if ORA 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:ORA Last Perf November 28th 18
NYSE:ORA Last Perf November 28th 18

What is causing this?

The underperforming ROCE is not ideal for Ormat Technologies investors if the company is unable to turn things around. But if the underlying variables (earnings and capital employed) improve, ORA’s ROCE may increase, in which case your portfolio could benefit from holding the company. 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. If you go back three years, you’ll find that ORA’s ROCE has decreased from 7.1%. Over the same period, EBT went from US$75m to US$128m but capital employed has grown by a proportionally greater amount due to an increase in total assets , which means that although earnings have increased, ORA requires more capital to produce each $1 of earnings.

Next Steps

ORA’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 ORA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ORA’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is ORA 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 ORA 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.