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Here's What Matador Resources Company's (NYSE:MTDR) ROCE Can Tell Us

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll look at Matador Resources Company (NYSE:MTDR) 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. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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 Matador Resources:

0.091 = US$297m ÷ (US$3.6b - US$328m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Matador Resources has an ROCE of 9.1%.

Check out our latest analysis for Matador Resources

Does Matador Resources Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Matador Resources's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 7.4% average in the Oil and Gas industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Matador Resources's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

Matador Resources has an ROCE of 9.1%, but it didn't have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. That suggests the business has returned to profitability. You can see in the image below how Matador Resources's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:MTDR Past Revenue and Net Income, July 1st 2019

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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Remember that most companies like Matador Resources are cyclical businesses. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Matador Resources.

How Matador Resources's Current Liabilities Impact 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Matador Resources has total liabilities of US$328m and total assets of US$3.6b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 9.2% of its total assets. With low levels of current liabilities, at least Matador Resources's mediocre ROCE is not unduly boosted.

What We Can Learn From Matador Resources's ROCE

If performance improves, then Matador Resources may be an OK investment, especially at the right valuation. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Matador Resources. 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.

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.