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Why You Should Like W&T Offshore, Inc.’s (NYSE:WTI) ROCE

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at W&T Offshore, Inc. (NYSE:WTI) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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'.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 W&T Offshore:

0.25 = US$166m ÷ (US$868m - US$210m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, W&T Offshore has an ROCE of 25%.

View our latest analysis for W&T Offshore

Is W&T Offshore's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In our analysis, W&T Offshore's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 7.7% average in the Oil and Gas industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, W&T Offshore's ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

W&T Offshore delivered an ROCE of 25%, which is better than 3 years ago, as was making losses back then. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how W&T Offshore's past growth compares to other companies.

NYSE:WTI Past Revenue and Net Income, August 8th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Given the industry it operates in, W&T Offshore 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.

How W&T Offshore'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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

W&T Offshore has total assets of US$868m and current liabilities of US$210m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 24% of its total assets. The fairly low level of current liabilities won't have much impact on the already great ROCE.

What We Can Learn From W&T Offshore's ROCE

This is good to see, and with such a high ROCE, W&T Offshore may be worth a closer look. W&T Offshore looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

I will like W&T Offshore better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.