Return on invested capital (ROIC) is a financial metric that measures a company’s ability to generate returns from the capital invested in it. Investors use ROIC to assess a company’s efficiency in deploying resources and generating profits. This article will explore what ROIC is, why it matters, and how to calculate it.

## What is Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)?

ROIC is a financial metric that calculates the amount of money a company earns as a return on the capital invested in it. Capital includes both debt and equity, and ROIC takes into account the cost of both. ROIC is expressed as a percentage and is an essential measure of a company’s ability to generate investment returns.

## Why is ROIC Important?

ROIC is a vital measure of a company’s financial health as it indicates how well it generates profits from the capital invested in it. A high ROIC indicates that a company is using its capital effectively to generate profits, while a low ROIC suggests it is not using its resources efficiently. In addition, ROIC is a critical metric for investors as it helps them evaluate a company’s profitability relative to the capital invested in it.

## How to Calculate ROIC

### ROIC Formula

ROIC is calculated by dividing a company’s net operating profit after taxes (NOPAT) by its invested capital. The formula for calculating ROIC is as follows:

**ROIC = NOPAT / Invested Capital**

### Components of ROIC Calculation

To calculate ROIC, we need to understand the components of the formula. NOPAT is the profit a company generates after deducting taxes but before considering the cost of debt. Invested capital includes debt and equity and refers to the total amount invested in a company to generate profits. Invested capital can be calculated as follows:

**Invested Capital = Total Equity + Total Debt – Cash and Cash Equivalents**

Cash and cash equivalents are subtracted from the total equity and debt as they do not generate returns and are not considered part of the invested capital.

### Limitations of ROIC

ROIC, like any other financial metric, has its limitations. For instance, it does not consider the risk of investing in a company. A high ROIC may be due to high-risk investments, which may not be sustainable in the long term. In addition, ROIC does not consider the impact of inflation and changes in interest rates on a company’s profitability.

## ROIC vs. Other Financial Metrics

ROIC is just one of several financial metrics used to assess a company’s profitability and efficiency. Other financial metrics include return on equity (ROE), return on assets (ROA), and return on invested assets (ROIA). While ROIC considers both debt and equity, ROE only considers equity. ROA measures a company’s ability to generate returns from its assets, while ROIA measures its ability to generate returns from the assets it has invested in.

## Examples of ROIC Calculation

Company A has a NOPAT of $1,000,000 and invested capital of $10,000,000. Using the ROIC formula, we get

**ROIC = $1,000,000 / $10,000,000 = 10%**

Company B has a NOPAT of $800,000 and invested capital of $6,000,000. Using the ROIC formula, we get:

**ROIC = $800,000 / $6,000,000 = 13.33%**

In this example, Company B has a higher ROIC than Company A, generating more profits per dollar invested capital.

## ROIC Case Study: Apple Inc.

Let’s take a look at how ROIC can be used to evaluate a company’s financial performance. Apple Inc., a leading technology company, had an ROIC of 30.78% in 2020. This indicates that Apple is generating high returns from the capital invested in it, and it is using its resources efficiently to generate profits. In comparison, the average industry ROIC for the technology sector was 13.61% in 2020.

## Conclusion

ROIC is an essential financial metric used to evaluate a company’s profitability and efficiency. It measures the amount of money a company earns as a return on the capital invested in it. ROIC is vital for investors as it helps them evaluate a company’s financial health and profitability relative to the capital invested in it. To calculate ROIC, we need to know the company’s NOPAT and invested capital. While ROIC has limitations, it is a valuable tool for investors to assess a company’s financial performance.

## FAQs

### Q. What is a good ROIC?

**A**. A good ROIC varies depending on the industry and the company’s size. However, an ROIC consistently higher than the industry average is considered good.

### Q. Can a company have a negative ROIC?

**A**. Yes, a company can have a negative ROIC if its invested capital is higher than its NOPAT.

### Q. How does ROIC differ from ROI?

**A**. ROI (return on investment) measures the return generated by a single investment, while ROIC measures the return generated by all investments made by a company.

### Q. What is the formula for calculating invested capital?

**A**. Invested capital = Total Equity + Total Debt – Cash and Cash Equivalents.

### Q. Can ROIC be used for private companies?

Yes, ROIC can be used for private companies as long as their financial information is available. However, calculating invested capital for private companies can be challenging as it may not be publicly available.

### Q. How can ROIC be used to compare companies in different industries?

**A**. ROIC can be used to compare companies in different industries by looking at their ROIC relative to their industry average. A company with a higher ROIC than its industry average generates more profits per dollar of invested capital than its peers.

### Q. Does a higher ROIC always mean a better company?

**A**. Not necessarily. A company with a higher ROIC may be using its resources efficiently to generate profits, but it may also indicate that it is not reinvesting enough in the business for future growth. Additionally, a high ROIC may be unsustainable in the long term if the company cannot maintain its competitive advantage.

### Q. Can ROIC be negative?

**A**. ROIC can be negative if a company’s NOPAT is negative or its invested capital is higher than its NOPAT.

### Q. How does ROIC relate to WACC?

**A**. ROIC is used to evaluate a company’s profitability relative to the capital invested in it, while WACC (weighted average cost of capital) calculates the minimum rate of return required by investors to invest in the company. If a company’s ROIC is higher than its WACC, it generates value for its shareholders.

### Q. What are the limitations of using ROIC?

**A**. ROIC has limitations, including that it is based on historical financial data and may not reflect future performance. Additionally, ROIC can be affected by accounting methods used to calculate NOPAT and invested capital. Finally, ROIC does not account for market trends, competitive pressures, and technological changes.