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Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)

Understanding how efficiently a company uses its capital to generate profits is crucial for investors, and that’s where the Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) comes into play. ROCE is a financial ratio that helps determine how well a company is using its capital to generate earnings.


ROCE=Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT)Total Capital Employed\text{ROCE} = \frac{\text{Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT)}}{\text{Total Capital Employed}}
  • Total Capital Employed\text{Total Capital Employed} is the sum of equity and debt in the company.
  • Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT)\text{Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT)} is used as it represents the profit generated from operations, excluding the influence of taxes and capital structure.

Example Calculations

Let’s consider a fictional company, ABC Corp., to illustrate how ROCE is calculated. Suppose ABC Corp. has an EBIT of $2 million for the current fiscal year. The equity of the company stands at $5 million, and it has long-term debt of $3 million.

First, we calculate the Total Capital Employed:

Total Capital Employed=Equity+Debt=$5,000,000+$3,000,000=$8,000,000\text{Total Capital Employed} = \text{Equity} + \text{Debt} = \$5,000,000 + \$3,000,000 = \$8,000,000

Next, we apply the ROCE formula:

ROCE=$2,000,000$8,000,000=0.25 or 25%\text{ROCE} = \frac{\$2,000,000}{\$8,000,000} = 0.25 \text{ or } 25\%

So, ABC Corp.’s ROCE is 25%, indicating that for every dollar of capital employed, the company is generating 25 cents in operating profit.

Using ROCE for Investment Decisions

ROCE is an excellent metric for comparing the efficiency of companies within the same industry. A higher ROCE indicates that a company is utilizing its capital more effectively in generating profit. Investors can use this metric to identify companies with strong operational efficiency and sustainable profitability.

However, it’s important to consider ROCE in context. Comparing ROCE across different industries can be misleading because capital requirements can vary widely. High ROCE values may also indicate potential risks if they stem from aggressive cost-cutting or underinvestment in future growth.

In addition, trends in ROCE over time can provide insights into a company’s strategic effectiveness and operational improvements. Frequent declines in ROCE may suggest potential inefficiencies or emerging challenges within the company.


In conclusion, understanding and analyzing ROCE can provide valuable insights into a company’s financial health and operational efficiency. By integrating this metric into their analysis, investors can make more informed decisions and identify businesses that are likely to deliver sustainable growth and profitability.