Return On Capital Employed ROCE: Definition and How To Calculate

Capital employed is primarily used by analysts to determine the return on capital employed (ROCE). Like return on assets (ROA), investors use ROCE to get an approximation of what their return might be in the future. It compares net operating profit to capital employed and tells investors how much each dollar of earnings is generated with each dollar of capital employed.

  1. If a company’s ROCE is not regularly above the weighted average cost of its capital, it’s wasting capital by continuing to operate.
  2. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets.
  3. If a segment performs significantly better than others, it can skew the results leading to incorrect interpretations.

ROCE can provide an objective analysis of which areas of the business are performing well and which aren’t. For instance, a firm with a consistently high ROCE over several years is likely managing its capital effectively and seeing stable growth. Conversely, a company with a declining ROCE trend might sound an alarm for investors, indicating a potential need for strategic or operational changes. Using ROCE as a comparative tool, investors can understand which companies are generating the most profit off their capital without getting distracted by superflacies.

Comparative Analysis with Return on Capital Employed

Consequently, a company’s decision to alter its depreciation policy could lead to inconsistent ROCE results over time. However, if this figure primarily stems from an exceedingly high operating profit of a single segment or does not factor in interest costs on debt, the company might not be as healthful as it appears. When we mention Operating Profit, we are referring to Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT). It is a measure that provides an understanding of a company’s profitability from its core business operations, before the influence of tax and interest expenses bubbles to the surface. This metric provides an insight into how well a company is investing its money to generate profits.

Capital employed can also refer to the value of all the assets used by a company to generate earnings. Return on investment (ROI) is a measure of the total return on an investment regardless of its source of financing. The formula for ROI is the profit from the investment divided by the cost of the investment.

Why Is ROCE Useful If We Already Have ROE and ROA Measures?

As will be explained below, ROCE is a commonly used ratio by analysts for assessing the profitability of a company for the amount of capital used. That said, the capital employed encompasses shareholders’ equity, as well as non-current liabilities, namely long-term debt. Analysts used capital employed to calculate return on capital employed (ROCE). A higher ROCE indicates a more efficient company with more successful capital investments.

Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range, can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. Here are some that are often used in conjunction with ROCE, or commonly confused with ROCE. Here’s how ROCE works, including how to calculate it, the ratio’s limitations and how ROCE compares to several other popular financial ratios. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more.

What is Return on Capital Employed?

In manufacturing, ROCE can exceed 25%, whereas in retail it typically ranges from 5% to 15%. For instance, if a company’s ROCE is 15%, but a proposed investment is only projected to return 10%, it may be more advantageous for the company to seek out other investment opportunities. On the other hand, if the potential project promises a return of 20%, it can be viewed as an advantageous investment since it surpasses the company’s existing ROCE. By examining industry ROCE trends, they can gauge which sectors are thriving and which ones are struggling, aiding in informed decision-making. ROCE uses the reported (period end) capital numbers; if one instead uses the average of the opening and closing capital for the period, one obtains return on average capital employed (ROACE). In practice, the ROCE is a method to ensure the strategic capital allocation by the management team of a company is supported by sufficient returns.

We and our partners process data to provide:

An informed decision of metrics takes into account the unique nature of a company’s operations and its capital structure. This can lead to meaningful insights about a firm’s efficiency and investment attractiveness, thereby giving a more comprehensive view of a company’s financial health. A key consideration is that some companies may have multiple segments, each contributing return on capital employed meaning to the overall operating profit. This creates potential for distortions when calculating industry-specific ROCE or comparing across different industries. If a segment performs significantly better than others, it can skew the results leading to incorrect interpretations. Therefore, it may be beneficial to calculate segment-wise ROCE for a more accurate analysis.

Capital employed is found by subtracting current liabilities from total assets, which ultimately gives you shareholders’ equity plus long-term debts. The term return on capital employed (ROCE) refers to a financial ratio that can be used to assess a company’s profitability and capital efficiency. In other words, this ratio can help to understand how well a company is generating profits from its capital as it is put to use. ROCE is one of several profitability ratios financial managers, stakeholders, and potential investors may use when analyzing a company for investment. In other words, it is a measure of the value of assets minus current liabilities. A current liability is the portion of debt that must be paid back within one year.

Because of this, capital employed can provide a snapshot of how effectively the company is using its money. Return on capital employed is calculated by dividing net operating profit, or earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), by employed capital. Another way to calculate it is by dividing earnings before interest and taxes by the difference between total assets and current liabilities. ROCE proves particularly valuable when comparing the performance of companies operating in capital-intensive sectors such as utilities.

However, this focus on achieving high ROCE may also encourage short-term strategies that neglect long-term sustainability and CSR goals. For instance, a business might rely on cheap but unsustainable processes or suppliers exploiting unethical practices to keep costs low and maximize profits and ROCE. In addition to ROCE, companies may also review other key return ratios when analyzing their performance, such as return on assets (ROA), return on equity (ROE), and return on invested capital (ROIC).

A higher ROCE is always more favorable, as it indicates that more profits are generated per dollar of capital employed. Most investors don’t take a second look at a company’s ROCE, but savvy investors know that like Kent’s alter ego, ROCE has a lot of muscle. ROCE can help investors see through growth forecasts, and it can often serve as a reliable measure of corporate performance. The ratio can be a superhero when it comes to calculating the efficiency and profitability of a company’s capital investments. A higher ROCE value usually denotes better profitability, implying that the company is using its capital efficiently to generate profits.

What Is Return on Average Capital Employed?

One way to determine if a company has a good return on capital employed is to compare the company’s ROCE to that of other companies in the same sector or industry. The highest ROCE indicates the company with the best profitability among those being compared. While both ROCE and return on invested capital (ROIC) measure an aspect of a company’s profitability, there are some distinctions between the two. In contrast, ROCE considers all funding sources for capital both debt and equity financing. ROCE also focuses on earnings before interest and taxes, rather than after-tax profits.

Moving on to the Total Capital Employed, it is essentially the total amount of resources a company has been granted to run its operations. This can be derived by summing the company’s total equity and non-current liabilities (long term liabilities), or alternatively from subtracting the company’s current liabilities from its total assets. The denominator, capital employed, is equal to the sum of shareholders’ equity and long-term debts, i.e. total assets less current liabilities. A higher return on capital employed suggests a more efficient company, at least in terms of capital employment. A higher number may also be indicative of a company with a lot of cash on hand since cash is included in total assets.

While some businesses, like Pampeano, use it to streamline operations, others may be more likely to use it to make themselves more attractive to investors than as a day-to-day measure. Barlow believes the metric is of most use to investors, rather than SMEs themselves. The key benefit of ROCE is that it allows a comparison of profitability relative to both equity and debt. It is also valuable in comparing companies of similar scale that operate within the same industry.