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Is Cargojet Inc. (TSE:CJT) Better Than Average At Deploying Capital?

Simply Wall St

Today we’ll look at Cargojet Inc. (TSE:CJT) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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?

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 Cargojet:

0.077 = CA$60m ÷ (CA$853m – CA$73m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Cargojet has an ROCE of 7.7%.

View our latest analysis for Cargojet

Does Cargojet Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Cargojet’s ROCE appears to be around the 8.9% average of the Logistics industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Cargojet’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

As we can see, Cargojet currently has an ROCE of 7.7% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 4.7%. This makes us think the business might be improving.

TSX:CJT Past Revenue and Net Income, March 1st 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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 only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Cargojet.

Cargojet’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Cargojet has total liabilities of CA$73m and total assets of CA$853m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 8.6% of its total assets. Cargojet reports few current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its unremarkable ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Cargojet’s ROCE

Based on this information, Cargojet appears to be a mediocre business. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.