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Return on capital employed: Ultimate metric to measure business efficiency

A company’s performance and position may be analysed by investors using a variety of indicators and ratios. Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) is a metric used to evaluate an organisation’s performance and the use of capital. ROCE helps calculate a business’s profits relative to the total capital employed. 

This blog is for you if you’re interested in learning more about ROCE, how it’s calculated, and how important it is in evaluating the success of companies. Let’s begin!

What is the return on capital employed?

ROCE stands for Return on Capital Employed. The efficiency with which a company makes a profit from its capital is shown by its return on capital employed or ROCE. 

The profitability ratio serves as an indicator of how well a business turns a profit on its capital. While ROCE does not assess short-term debt, it does cover equity and debt capital.

The return on capital employed ratio is often regarded as a helpful tool because of its ability to determine the attractiveness of an investment. It does so by analysing the returns generated from the capital used in its operations. 

The statistic is a crucial profitability metric that investors often use to evaluate a company’s investment potential. 

Also read: What is return on sales and why is it important?

How to calculate the return on capital employed?

If you want to determine the return on capital employed, you may use the following return on capital employed formula:

Return on capital employed = EBIT/Capital employed 

EBIT stands for earnings before taxes and interest, whereas capital employed is what you get by subtracting current liabilities from total assets. 

EBIT = Total revenue – Cost of goods sold – Operational costs

Capital employed = Shareholder’s equity + Total debt

A lower ROCE may indicate subpar business operations or inadequate management, while a greater ROCE indicates a more efficient use of capital.

Also read: Return on equity (ROE): What is it?

Return on capital employed example

To calculate the ROCE for an organisation called XYZ Ltd. for the year, let’s take a speculative look at the following scenario: 

The financial data of XYZ Ltd. for the year included the following:

EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes): ₹15,000,000 

The total capital employed: ₹75,000,000. 

So, XYZ Ltd.’s return on capital employed will be:

ROCE = (15,00,000 / 75,00,000) x 100 = 0.20 x 100 = 20%

In this case, XYZ Ltd.’s ROCE for the year was 20%, meaning that for every 100 rupees of capital used in its operations, the company made a profit of 20 rupees.

Advantages and drawbacks of ROCE

ROCE comes with both perks and drawbacks. 

Let’s focus on the pros first. 

  • Helpful when evaluating a business’s earning potential: ROCE evaluates its profitability by calculating the profit margin on each unit of capital used in its operations.
  • Measures how effectively an entity uses capital: ROCE shows how well a company uses capital to generate profits. A high return on capital employed signifies that the business is making more money per unit of capital used, whereas a low ROCE implies the opposite.
  • Effective in comparing businesses: ROCE may be used to determine how well different kinds of companies generate profits from their capital. This might help investors discover potentially lucrative avenues for investment.

The drawbacks include:

  • Overlooks the cost of capital: ROCE does not take this into account. Even if a business has a high ROCE, it cannot make enough money to pay for its capital if its cost of capital is high.
  • Do not consider non-operating items: Non-operating items like interest income and one-time profits or losses are not considered by ROCE. A distorted perception of a company’s profitability might result from this.

Also read: A way for you to calculate your return on investments through RAROC


Even though ROCE is a helpful financial indicator to determine how well a business uses its capital to generate revenue, it is always a good idea to be aware of its limits and combine it with other financial indicators for an in-depth evaluation.


Is a high ROCE good or bad?

A high ROCE ratio means that more revenue might be reinvested in the business for the sake of the shareholders. A higher rate of return on the reinvested capital contributes to an increase in profits per share. Hence, a successful, growing company would have a high ROCE.

Is 15% a good ROCE?

When it comes to ROCE, a larger ratio is generally preferable. Typically, the financial stability of a business is indicated by a ROCE of at least 20%. However, remember that there are better ideas than comparing the ROCE ratios of businesses in other sectors.

Is ROCE and ROI the same?

Gains are calculated by dividing an investment’s returns by cost, or ROI. In theory, these metrics are similar; however, ROCE evaluates how capital is used within a company and helps compare businesses within a particular sector. ROI, on the other hand, only considers the return on investment.

Why is ROCE better than ROA?

When comparing businesses in capital-intensive industries, particularly those with high debt loads, ROCE is most beneficial. Return on assets (ROA) focuses on the effective use of assets, in contrast to ROCE. Using these profitability metrics to compare like-minded companies within the same sector is advisable.

Is ROCE shown as a percentage?

This ratio may be expressed as a percentage, where a greater percentage indicates a higher chance of profitability. Companies often want an ROCE greater than the rate at which they borrow money to prove that the profits from their present capital exceed the amount they are borrowing.

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