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Evaluating Pingtan Marine Enterprise Ltd.’s (NASDAQ:PME) Investments In Its Business

Victor Youngblood

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Today we are going to look at Pingtan Marine Enterprise Ltd. (NASDAQ:PME) 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.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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’.

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 Pingtan Marine Enterprise:

0.099 = US$11m ÷ (US$246m – US$65m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Pingtan Marine Enterprise has an ROCE of 9.9%.

See our latest analysis for Pingtan Marine Enterprise

Does Pingtan Marine Enterprise Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see Pingtan Marine Enterprise’s ROCE is around the 8.7% average reported by the Food industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Pingtan Marine Enterprise’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.

NasdaqCM:PME Past Revenue and Net Income, February 19th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Pingtan Marine Enterprise.

Pingtan Marine Enterprise’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 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Pingtan Marine Enterprise has total assets of US$246m and current liabilities of US$65m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 27% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

Our Take On Pingtan Marine Enterprise’s ROCE

If Pingtan Marine Enterprise continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. But note: Pingtan Marine Enterprise 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).

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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. On rare occasion, data errors may occur. Thank you for reading.