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Is Martinrea International Inc. (TSE:MRE) Creating Value For Shareholders?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Martinrea International Inc. (TSE:MRE) 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.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Understanding 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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'.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Martinrea International:

0.13 = CA$289m ÷ (CA$3.2b - CA$931m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Martinrea International has an ROCE of 13%.

View our latest analysis for Martinrea International

Does Martinrea International Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. It appears that Martinrea International's ROCE is fairly close to the Auto Components industry average of 15%. Regardless of where Martinrea International sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

The image below shows how Martinrea International's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

TSX:MRE Past Revenue and Net Income, July 22nd 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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 only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Martinrea International.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Martinrea International's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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.

Martinrea International has total assets of CA$3.2b and current liabilities of CA$931m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 29% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Martinrea International's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Martinrea International could be worth a closer look. Martinrea International shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.