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What Can We Make Of Public Joint Stock Company ALROSA’s (MCX:ALRS) High Return On Capital?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Public Joint Stock Company ALROSA (MCX:ALRS) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 ALROSA:

0.25 = RUруб93b ÷ (RUруб428b - RUруб62b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, ALROSA has an ROCE of 25%.

View our latest analysis for ALROSA

Is ALROSA's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that ALROSA's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.3% average in the Metals and Mining industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where ALROSA sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

ALROSA's current ROCE of 25% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 34% ROCE. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently. You can see in the image below how ALROSA's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

MISX:ALRS Past Revenue and Net Income, September 4th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Given the industry it operates in, ALROSA could be considered cyclical. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

ALROSA's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

ALROSA has total liabilities of RUруб62b and total assets of RUруб428b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 14% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From ALROSA's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, ALROSA could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than ALROSA 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.

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.