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Are Gencor Industries, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GENC) Returns Worth Your While?

Bryson Sharp

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Today we’ll evaluate Gencor Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:GENC) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 Gencor Industries:

0.097 = US$14m ÷ (US$154m – US$9.2m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Gencor Industries has an ROCE of 9.7%.

View our latest analysis for Gencor Industries

Does Gencor Industries Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. It appears that Gencor Industries’s ROCE is fairly close to the Machinery industry average of 12%. Aside from the industry comparison, Gencor Industries’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.

Our data shows that Gencor Industries currently has an ROCE of 9.7%, compared to its ROCE of 1.7% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

NASDAQGM:GENC Last Perf February 18th 19

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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 only a point-in-time measure. You can check if Gencor Industries has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do Gencor Industries’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Gencor Industries has total liabilities of US$9.2m and total assets of US$154m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 6.0% of its total assets. With low levels of current liabilities, at least Gencor Industries’s mediocre ROCE is not unduly boosted.

What We Can Learn From Gencor Industries’s ROCE

Gencor Industries looks like an ok business, but on this analysis it is not at the top of our buy list. 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.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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. On rare occasion, data errors may occur. Thank you for reading.