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Should You Like Atico Mining Corporation’s (CVE:ATY) High Return On Capital Employed?

Will Harmon

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Today we are going to look at Atico Mining Corporation (CVE:ATY) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Atico Mining:

0.13 = US$7.3m ÷ (US$84m – US$17m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Atico Mining has an ROCE of 13%.

View our latest analysis for Atico Mining

Does Atico Mining Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In our analysis, Atico Mining’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 2.4% average in the Metals and Mining industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Independently of how Atico Mining compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

Our data shows that Atico Mining currently has an ROCE of 13%, compared to its ROCE of 9.6% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

TSXV:ATY Last Perf February 13th 19

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Remember that most companies like Atico Mining are cyclical businesses. How cyclical is Atico Mining? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Atico Mining’s ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Atico Mining has total liabilities of US$17m and total assets of US$84m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 20% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Atico Mining’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Atico Mining could be worth a closer look. But note: Atico Mining may not be the best stock to buy. 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.

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.