What Is Return on Capital Employed?

What Is Return on Capital Employed?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) is a financial metric that measures a company’s profitability and the efficiency with which its capital is used. In other words, the ratio tells us the profit each dollar of capital employed generates. Calculated as Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) divided by the total capital employed (debt + equity), it shows how effectively a company is generating profits from its capital.

Related Questions

1. How is ROCE different from Return on Equity (ROE)?

While both ROCE and ROE are measures of profitability, they focus on different things. ROE only considers equity capital, i.e., shareholders’ funds, while ROCE looks at both equity and debt, providing a more comprehensive view of how well a company uses all available capital.

2. Why do investors use ROCE?

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Investors use ROCE to assess the efficiency and profitability of a company. It helps determine how well a company is using its capital to generate profits, which can indicate whether the company is a good investment. A higher ROCE typically suggests better financial performance.

3. What is a good ROCE value?

A “good” ROCE varies between industries and companies, but as a rule of thumb, a ROCE higher than a company’s borrowing rate indicates efficient use of capital. Generally, a ROCE of 15% or more is considered strong.

4. Can a negative ROCE be a cause for concern?

Yes, a negative ROCE could suggest that a company isn’t effectively generating profits from its capital. It’s not a definitive sign of failure, but it generally indicates poor performance, and it’s a signal that investors should do more research to understand the reasons behind the negative ROCE.

5. How does ROCE influence business decisions?

ROCE can influence a wide variety of business decisions. For example, a company with a high ROCE might feel confident in taking on more debt to expand operations, while a company with a low ROCE might prioritize improving its capital efficiency before taking on additional growth initiatives.