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Should You Worry About Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd’s (HKG:2362) ROCE?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd (HKG:2362) 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. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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.'

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 Jinchuan Group International Resources:

0.0028 = US$4.0m ÷ (US$1.8b - US$406m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Jinchuan Group International Resources has an ROCE of 0.3%.

View our latest analysis for Jinchuan Group International Resources

Is Jinchuan Group International Resources's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In this analysis, Jinchuan Group International Resources's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 8.1% average reported by the Metals and Mining industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Regardless of how Jinchuan Group International Resources stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is quite low (especially compared to a bank account). Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

Jinchuan Group International Resources has an ROCE of 0.3%, but it didn't have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Jinchuan Group International Resources's past growth compares to other companies.

SEHK:2362 Past Revenue and Net Income, September 19th 2019
SEHK:2362 Past Revenue and Net Income, September 19th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Given the industry it operates in, Jinchuan Group International Resources could be considered cyclical. You can check if Jinchuan Group International Resources has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do Jinchuan Group International Resources's Current Liabilities Skew 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 the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Jinchuan Group International Resources has total assets of US$1.8b and current liabilities of US$406m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 22% of its total assets. With a very reasonable level of current liabilities, so the impact on ROCE is fairly minimal.

The Bottom Line On Jinchuan Group International Resources's ROCE

That's not a bad thing, however Jinchuan Group International Resources has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. 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.

I will like Jinchuan Group International Resources 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.