Today we’ll look at Canterbury Park Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:CPHC) 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. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Canterbury Park Holding:
0.11 = US$4.4m ÷ (US$57m – US$9.1m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)
Therefore, Canterbury Park Holding has an ROCE of 11%.
Does Canterbury Park Holding Have A Good ROCE?
ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Canterbury Park Holding’s ROCE appears to be around the 9.9% average of the Hospitality industry. Independently of how Canterbury Park Holding compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.
Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. 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. If Canterbury Park Holding is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
How Canterbury Park Holding’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE
Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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.
Canterbury Park Holding has total assets of US$57m and current liabilities of US$9.1m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 16% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.
What We Can Learn From Canterbury Park Holding’s ROCE
This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Canterbury Park Holding could be worth a closer look. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.
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 email@example.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.