• 4 minutes Energy Armageddon
  • 6 minutes How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 10 minutes Russia Says Europe Will Struggle To Replace Its Oil Products
  • 2 hours GREEN NEW DEAL = BLIZZARD OF LIES
  • 3 hours Reality catching up with EV forecasts
  • 5 days "Natural Gas Price Fundamental Daily Forecast – Grinding Toward Summer Highs Despite Huge Short Interest" by James Hyerczyk & REUTERS on NatGas
  • 4 days A Somewhat Realistic View of the Near Future for Electric Vehicles Worldwide
  • 10 days The Federal Reserve and Money...Aspects which are not widely known
  • 14 days US Oil Independence is a myth and will always be a myth
  • 15 days Oil Stocks, Market Direction, Bitcoin, Minerals, Gold, Silver - Technical Trading <--- Chris Vermeulen & Gareth Soloway weigh in
  • 18 days "Biden Is Running U.S. Energy Security Into The Ground" by Irina Slav
Expert Analysis: What To Expect In Energy Markets This Year

Expert Analysis: What To Expect In Energy Markets This Year

Energy expert Robert Rapier presents…

The ExxonMobil Papers

The ExxonMobil Papers

Two weeks ago, the prestigious…

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald

Michael is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. He holds a PhD in finance…

More Info

Premium Content

The Newest Metric For Gauging Stock Performance In The Oil Patch

Investors pondering their choices as oil prices continue to recover must attempt to determine which firms are the best investments. The problem is that every company management team is trying to put the best spin on their results in quarterly conference calls and investor presentations. As a result, sage investors should take a careful look at more objective measures of value and success in firms. One of the best metrics for doing that is Return on Invested Capital or ROIC.

ROIC has recently become a much more popular metric on Wall Street, and that’s good for investors. ROIC can be complex to calculate, but essentially it is just a measure of how efficient a company is with respect to its capital. The formula divides cash flow by a company’s equity and debt less its cash balance. Firms which earn high margins and use their assets effectively are rewarding investors and earning a high ROIC. Such efficiency has been rare among many oil companies, which spent years wasting capital drilling wells with questionable long run economics. Related: Oil Slips After EIA Reports 1.3M Barrel Build

Using ROIC as an investing metric can be lucrative for investors. Stocks in the highest quintile of ROIC over the last 12 years had an average stock price return of 10.5 percent annually while firms in the lowest quintile had an average stock price return of 8.1 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

Oil companies looking to enhance ROIC can pursue a number of strategies to boost their results. One option is to use asset-backed trading efforts to reduce capital needs based on asset allocation. In particular, firms can benefit from either prudent use of arbitrage strategies related to crude quality, location, storage opportunities, etc. These can result in an attractive risk-free return for smart companies. Related: Are The Saudis Facing A Full-Blown Liquidity Crisis?

Similarly, oil companies can also reduce their required assets through off balance sheet transactions that give them low cost sources of funding such as off-balance sheet greenfield investments with retained usage rights through tolling. These types of transactions give firms effective control over an asset’s capacity without tying up full capital funding. These types of transactions, along with various working capital related financial structures, can reduce capital employed by as much as 20 percent in some instances. While capital light balance sheet structures do require robust enterprise risk management methods, they are an effective tool in boosting returns.

ADVERTISEMENT

Finally, firms can increase their margins through effective joint ventures and M&A deals that help sustain reserve-replacement ratios. These deals are particularly attractive at present given the current state of the industry. Value engineering and capital optimization techniques make these deals potentially even more attractive. Related: Wildfire Nears Canada’s Major Oil Sands Plants

All three methods of boosting ROIC can enhance the attractiveness of a firm to investors and lenders. Given present industry circumstances, lenders are only interested in working with the most stable and efficient firms. ROIC is a useful metric to demonstrate that stability.

The point here is that ROIC is a metric that both firms and investors should care about. The levers to pull on ROIC are not as simple as the manipulation that can be done with EPS, but they are worthwhile endeavors that can help firms to run more efficiently and boost returns for shareholders as well.

By Michael McDonald of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage


ADVERTISEMENT


ADVERTISEMENT



Leave a comment

Leave a comment




EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News