# Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

Profitability ratios Print Email

## Definition

Return on capital employed (ROCE) is a measure of the returns that a business is achieving from the capital employed, usually expressed in percentage terms. Capital employed equals a company's Equity plus Non-current liabilities (or Total Assets − Current Liabilities), in other words all the long-term funds used by the company. ROCE indicates the efficiency and profitability of a company's capital investments.

ROCE should always be higher than the rate at which the company borrows otherwise any increase in borrowing will reduce shareholders' earnings, and vice versa; a good ROCE is one that is greater than the rate at which the company borrows.

## Calculation (Formula)

ROCE is calculated by dividing a company's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by its total capital employed, and is usually expressed as a percentage. The formula for calculating ROCE is as follows:

where:
EBIT = Earnings before interest and taxes
Capital employed = (Equity + Non-current Liabilities) = EBIT / (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

For example, let's say a company has an EBIT of \$10 million, total equity of \$40 million, and Non-current Liabilities of \$20 million. The capital employed would be \$60 million (\$40 million + \$20 million). The ROCE for this company would be:

ROCE = \$10 million / \$60 million = 0.1667 or 16.67%

This means that for every dollar of capital employed in the business, the company generated 16.67 cents in EBIT.

A more accurate variation of this ratio is return on average capital employed (ROACE), which takes the average of opening and closing capital employed for the time period.

One limitation of ROCE is the fact that it does not account for the depreciation and amortization of the capital employed. Because capital employed is in the denominator, a company with depreciated assets may find its ROCE increases without an actual increase in profit.

ROCE provides insight into how effectively a company is utilizing its capital to generate profits. A higher ROCE indicates that the company is generating more profits per dollar of capital employed, which is generally considered a positive indicator of financial performance. In contrast, a lower ROCE may indicate that the company is not generating sufficient returns on its capital investment and may need to re-evaluate its strategy.

ROCE is particularly useful in comparing the performance of companies in the same industry, as it provides a standard measure of how well each company is utilizing its capital. It is also a valuable tool for investors and analysts in evaluating the financial health and performance of a company.

## Negative Return on Capital Employed

A negative ROCE means that the firm's operational earnings (EBIT) were insufficient to cover the cost of the capital used in its operations, which means that the company has experienced a loss on the capital used in its operations.

Several factors, including a fall in income or profitability, large levels of debt or interest payments, or substantial capital expenditures, might result in a negative ROCE. In some cases, a negative ROCE may be a temporary situation that can be corrected through changes in strategy or improved financial performance. However, a sustained negative ROCE may indicate serious financial difficulties and may be a warning sign for investors or creditors.

It is important to note that a negative ROCE should be analyzed in the context of the company's industry and business model, as well as the overall economic conditions. Some industries or business models may require a longer time horizon for generating returns on capital employed, and may have lower or negative ROCE in the early stages of operation. In addition, economic downturns or disruptions can impact a company's financial performance and may lead to negative ROCE in the short term. Before making any investment or financing decisions, it is crucial to assess the causes of a low ROCE and take the company's long-term prospects into account.

## ROCE Formula in ReadyRatios Analysis Software

ROCE (ROACE) = EBIT*(365/NUM_DAYS) / ((F1[b][Equity] + F1[b][NoncurrentLiabilities]+F1[e][Equity] + F1[e][NoncurrentLiabilities])/2)

F2 – Statement of comprehensive income (IFRS).
F1[b], F1[e] - Statement of financial position (at the [b]eginnig and at the [e]nd of the analizing period).
NUM_DAYS – Number of days in the the analizing period.
365 – Days in a year.

## Ratios Similar to ROCE

There are several financial ratios that are similar to Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) and are used to evaluate a company's profitability and efficiency in generating returns from its capital investment. Some of the most commonly used ratios similar to ROCE include:

1. Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is a ratio that measures the profitability of an investment, typically expressed as a percentage of the initial investment. Like ROCE, ROI measures the returns generated by the capital employed in the business, but it is often used to evaluate the returns of specific investments, rather than the overall business.

2. Return on Equity (ROE): ROE is a ratio that measures the profitability of a company's equity investment, usually expressed as a percentage. ROE measures the returns generated by the shareholders' equity, and is often used to evaluate the company's ability to generate profits for its shareholders.

3. Return on Assets (ROA): ROA is a ratio that measures a company's ability to generate profits from its total assets, usually expressed as a percentage. ROA measures the efficiency of a company's use of its assets to generate profits, and is often used to compare the performance of companies in the same industry.

While these ratios are comparable to ROCE, each offers a distinct viewpoint on a company's profitability and efficiency, and depending on the particular situation and industry, may be more or less relevant. To obtain a thorough knowledge of a company's financial performance, it is crucial to employ a combination of ratios and other financial measurements.

Quote Guest, 17 January, 2013
As a lay person trying to understand the formula, it was confusing as it was more involved than the more simplistic one I had previously seen.  A calculation example would have helped here.  Also having to work out the accronyms.  Like legal jargon, the accounting jargon seems to vary which also does not help.
Quote Guest, 5 February, 2013
I may be incorrect but in your definition you do not mention operating profit as the return part of return on capital employed. Also you give a formula for ROACE but not a full formula for ROCE wouldn't it be a good idea to clearly define the first part then build upon the foundations you have built?
Quote , 6 February, 2013
Quote
Guest wrote:
I may be incorrect but in your definition you do not mention operating profit as the return part of return on capital employed. Also you give a formula for ROACE but not a full formula for ROCE wouldn't it be a good idea to clearly define the first part then build upon the foundations you have built?
Here is EBIT used as the return part of return on capital employed. It's not a dogma but common practice.
Why ROACE formula is not full? As we can see on this page it differs from ROCE only as it use average values of capital employed.
Quote Guest, 21 July, 2015
Bank loans like cash credit or overdrafts are current liability. Does Interest paid on the same should be factored in (or reduced) while taking EBIT in the numerator. Please comment.
Quote Guest, 27 February, 2017
when calculating capital employed does deduct investment property from total assets?
Quote , 21 February, 2023
Quote
Guest wrote:
when calculating capital employed does deduct investment property from total assets?
Investment property is an asset, not a part of liability or capital.
Quote , 21 February, 2023

Quote
Guest wrote:
Bank loans like cash credit or overdrafts are current liability. Does Interest paid on the same should be factored in (or reduced) while taking EBIT in the numerator. Please comment.
Yes, interest paid on bank loans such as cash credit or overdrafts should be factored in when calculating a company's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), which is the numerator of the Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) ratio.

EBIT represents a company's operating income before accounting for interest and taxes, and is used as a measure of a company's profitability from its core operations. Interest payments on bank loans are considered financing costs and are deducted from EBIT to arrive at the company's earnings before taxes (EBT). Therefore, when calculating ROCE, the interest paid on bank loans should be subtracted from EBIT to arrive at EBT, which is used as the numerator of the ratio.

By subtracting interest paid on bank loans from EBIT, we are effectively reducing the impact of financing costs on the company's profitability, and providing a more accurate measure of the returns generated from the capital employed in the business. This is important for comparing the performance of companies with different levels of debt, and for evaluating the efficiency of a company's use of its capital.