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Is China Yuchai International Limited (NYSE:CYD) Struggling With Its 9.1% Return On Capital Employed?

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Today we are going to look at China Yuchai International Limited (NYSE:CYD) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 China Yuchai International:

0.091 = CN¥1.1b ÷ (CN¥22b - CN¥9.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, China Yuchai International has an ROCE of 9.1%.

See our latest analysis for China Yuchai International

Is China Yuchai International's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, China Yuchai International's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 11% average in the Machinery industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Aside from the industry comparison, China Yuchai International'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.

In our analysis, China Yuchai International's ROCE appears to be 9.1%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 7.2%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how China Yuchai International's past growth compares to other companies.

NYSE:CYD Past Revenue and Net Income, October 20th 2019
NYSE:CYD Past Revenue and Net Income, October 20th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect China Yuchai International's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

China Yuchai International has total liabilities of CN¥9.6b and total assets of CN¥22b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 44% of its total assets. China Yuchai International has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.

What We Can Learn From China Yuchai International's ROCE

With this level of liabilities and a mediocre ROCE, there are potentially better investments out there. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than China Yuchai International. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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

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.