ROCE vs ROI: What’s the difference?

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  • But be sure to compare the ROCE of companies within the same industry as those from different sectors tend to have varying ratios.
  • That said, the capital employed encompasses shareholders’ equity, as well as non-current liabilities, namely long-term debt.
  • Comparing ROCE to basic profit margin calculations can show the value of looking at ROCE.
  • If we deduct current liabilities, we are removing the non-financing liabilities from total assets (e.g. accounts payable, accrued expenses, deferred revenue).

For starters, ROCE is a useful measurement for comparing the relative profitability of companies. But ROCE is also an efficiency measure of sorts—it doesn’t just gauge profitability as profit margin ratios do. ROCE measures profitability after factoring in the amount of capital used. This metric has become very popular in the oil and gas sector as a way of evaluating a company’s profitability.

Profitability Ratios (Revision Presentation)

The formula for ROI is the profit from the investment divided by the cost of the investment. Here are some that are often used in conjunction with ROCE, or commonly confused with ROCE. Bankrate follows a strict
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ROACE differs from the return on capital employed (ROCE) because it takes into account the averages of assets and liabilities over a period of time. ROIC measures the company’s after-tax profitability and compares it to how much capital is invested in the operational assets of the business, not just how much capital is on the balance sheet. Invested capital is a subset of capital employed and does not include assets such as cash and equivalents that are not needed to run the business. The formula for ROIC is after-tax profit divided by invested capital, where invested capital is shareholder’s equity plus any debt financing minus non-operating cash and investments.

Capital Employed: Calculation and How to Use It to Determine Return

Both ROI and ROCE are financial metrics that determine how well a company utilizes its capital for operations and growth. ROCE is primarily used when comparing companies within the same industry, whereas ROI can be used with more flexibility. ROCE primarily looks at how capital is utilized within a company while ROI looks at the returns of an investment.

Return on capital employed

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On the other hand, ROIC uses invested capital – which is equal to fixed assets (i.e. property, plant & equipment, or “PP&E”) plus net working capital (NWC). The distinction between ROCE and ROCE is in the denominator – i.e. capital employed vs invested capital. But as usual, reliance on a single metric is not recommended, so ROCE should be supplemented with other metrics such as the return on invested capital (ROIC), which we’ll expand upon in the next section. NOPAT, also known as “EBIAT” (i.e. earnings before interest after taxes), is the numerator, which is subsequently divided by capital employed. For a more precise income generated by operations that are not affected by non-cash expenses, please consider EBITDA.

Capital employed is calculated by taking total assets from the balance sheet and subtracting current liabilities, which are short-term financial obligations. ROE measures a company’s after-tax profits as a percentage of its shareholder equity. It shows how efficient the business is at generating profit with shareholder funds. The formula for return on equity is after-tax profits divided by shareholder’s equity.


Take a look at how ROCE behaves over several years and follow the trend closely. Capital employed is better interpreted by combining it with other information to form an analysis metric such as return on capital employed (ROCE). Capital employed can give a snapshot of how a company is investing its money. However, it is a frequently used term that is at the same time very difficult to define because there are so many contexts in which it can be used. All definitions generally refer to the capital investment necessary for a business to function.

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.

Given a ROCE of 10%, the interpretation is that the company generates $1.00 of profits for each $10.00 in capital employed. Finally, to find ROCE, we have to divide the operating income by the capital employed. Asset optimization also involves optimizing asset utilization to generate maximum returns. For example, companies common size balance sheet definition can renegotiate leases, sell underutilized or non-performing assets, renegotiating leases and contracts, and exploring shared asset models. ROCE is improved when fewer capital is deployed; by avoiding unnecessary carrying costs or long-term investment expenses, companies can improve the returns it incurs.

Its name is Synnex, a TI (technical information) company related to the data center business. For a company, the ROCE trend over the years can also be an important indicator of performance. Investors tend to favor companies with stable and rising ROCE levels over companies where ROCE is volatile or trending lower. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance.

ROCE is a long-term profitability ratio because it shows how effectively assets are performing while taking into consideration long-term financing. This is why ROCE is a more useful ratio than return on equity to evaluate the longevity of a company. Return on capital employed (ROCE) is a useful financial metric for evaluating a company, but like most financial ratios, it has some limitations. So you’ll want to consider ROCE in conjunction with other financial ratios such as ROIC and ROE to generate the fullest picture of the company. While both ROCE and return on invested capital (ROIC) measure an aspect of a company’s profitability, there are some distinctions between the two.