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Here's What CVR Energy, Inc.'s (NYSE:CVI) ROCE Can Tell Us

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at CVR Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CVI) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 CVR Energy:

0.21 = US$689m ÷ (US$3.8b - US$482m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, CVR Energy has an ROCE of 21%.

Check out our latest analysis for CVR Energy

Does CVR Energy Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. CVR Energy's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 8.3% average in the Oil and Gas industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Separate from CVR Energy's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

Our data shows that CVR Energy currently has an ROCE of 21%, compared to its ROCE of 2.7% 3 years ago. This makes us think the business might be improving. You can see in the image below how CVR Energy's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:CVI Past Revenue and Net Income, October 7th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. Remember that most companies like CVR Energy are cyclical businesses. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

CVR Energy'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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

CVR Energy has total assets of US$3.8b and current liabilities of US$482m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 13% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On CVR Energy's ROCE

With that in mind, CVR Energy's ROCE appears pretty good. There might be better investments than CVR Energy out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

I will like CVR Energy 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.