Today we'll look at PBF Energy Inc. (NYSE:PBF) 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. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared 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 amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.
So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?
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 PBF Energy:
0.078 = US$502m ÷ (US$8.8b - US$2.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)
Therefore, PBF Energy has an ROCE of 7.8%.
Does PBF Energy Have A Good ROCE?
One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see PBF Energy's ROCE is around the 8.3% average reported by the Oil and Gas industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, PBF Energy'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.
The image below shows how PBF Energy's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.
When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Given the industry it operates in, PBF Energy could be considered cyclical. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for PBF Energy.
How PBF Energy's Current Liabilities Impact 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.
PBF Energy has total assets of US$8.8b and current liabilities of US$2.4b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 27% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.
Our Take On PBF Energy's ROCE
That said, PBF Energy's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than PBF Energy. 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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.