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Does Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:ORA) Create Value For Shareholders?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:ORA) 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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'.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 Ormat Technologies:

0.067 = US$194m ÷ (US$3.3b - US$376m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, Ormat Technologies has an ROCE of 6.7%.

See our latest analysis for Ormat Technologies

Is Ormat Technologies's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that Ormat Technologies's ROCE is fairly close to the Renewable Energy industry average of 7.1%. Aside from the industry comparison, Ormat Technologies's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

We can see that, Ormat Technologies currently has an ROCE of 6.7%, less than the 9.4% it reported 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. You can see in the image below how Ormat Technologies's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:ORA Past Revenue and Net Income May 1st 2020

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 only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Ormat Technologies'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 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.

Ormat Technologies has current liabilities of US$376m and total assets of US$3.3b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 12% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On Ormat Technologies's ROCE

If Ormat Technologies continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Ormat Technologies. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.