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A Close Look At K92 Mining Inc.’s (CVE:KNT) 20% ROCE

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Today we are going to look at K92 Mining Inc. (CVE:KNT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 K92 Mining:

0.20 = -US\$4.1m ÷ (US\$55m – US\$16m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, K92 Mining has an ROCE of 20%.

Does K92 Mining Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, K92 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. Separate from K92 Mining’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

K92 Mining has an ROCE of 20%, but it didn’t have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. That implies the business has been improving.

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 deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Given the industry it operates in, K92 Mining could be considered cyclical. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for K92 Mining.

K92 Mining’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they need to be paid within 12 months. 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.

K92 Mining has total liabilities of US\$16m and total assets of US\$55m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 29% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On K92 Mining’s ROCE

With that in mind, K92 Mining’s ROCE appears pretty good. But note: K92 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).

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

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.