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Should You Like PJSC PhosAgro’s (MCX:PHOR) High Return On Capital Employed?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at PJSC PhosAgro (MCX:PHOR) and reflect on its potential as an investment. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 PJSC PhosAgro:

0.27 = ₽64b ÷ (₽291b - ₽54b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, PJSC PhosAgro has an ROCE of 27%.

View our latest analysis for PJSC PhosAgro

Does PJSC PhosAgro Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. PJSC PhosAgro's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 21% average in the Chemicals industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, PJSC PhosAgro's ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

We can see that, PJSC PhosAgro currently has an ROCE of 27%, less than the 40% it reported 3 years ago. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently. You can see in the image below how PJSC PhosAgro's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

MISX:PHOR Past Revenue and Net Income, September 22nd 2019

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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for PJSC PhosAgro.

How PJSC PhosAgro's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

PJSC PhosAgro has total liabilities of ₽54b and total assets of ₽291b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 19% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

What We Can Learn From PJSC PhosAgro's ROCE

, PJSC PhosAgro 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.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.