ROCE – Return on Capital Employed

What is ROCE – Return on Capital Employed?

ROCE or return on capital employed measures the percentage rate of return a business gets on its capital employed. It is calculated by dividing the earnings before interest and tax by the total assets less current liabilities of the business.

Formula for ROCE – Return on Capital Employed

ROCE = Earnings before interest and tax / (Total assets – Current liabilities)
  • Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is shown in the income statement. It is sometimes referred to as profit before interest and tax (PBIT).
  • Capital Employed is found in the balance sheet and includes total assets less current liabilities.

How to Calculate the ROCE

1. Earnings before interest and tax from the Income Statement
Revenue 440,000
Cost of sales 176,000
Gross margin 264,000
Operating expenses 135,000
EBITDA 129,000
Depreciation 65,000
Earnings before interest and tax 64,000
Interest 20,000
Income before tax 44,000
Tax 9,000
Net income 35,000
2. Capital Employed from the Balance Sheet
Cash 5,000
Accounts receivable 95,000
Inventories 50,000
Current assets 150,000
Property 390,000
Fixed assets 390,000
Total assets 540,000
Accounts payable 90,000
Other liabilities 10,000
Bank overdraft 20,000
Current liabilities 120,000
Long term debt 190,000
Total liabilities 310,000
Capital 60,000
Retained earnings 170,000
Total equity 230,000
Total liabilities and equity 540,000

In the example above, from the income statement the earnings before interest and tax is 64,000, and from the balance sheet, the total assets are 540,000, and the current liabilities are 120,000.

The ROCE (return on capital employed) is given as follows

ROCE = Earnings before interest and tax / (Total assets - Current liabilities)
ROCE = 64,000 / (540,000 - 120,000)
ROCE = 15.24%

The bank overdraft has been included as it is considered to be a current liability. The bank and other loans have been assumed to be long term.

From the balance sheet above, it should be noted that the total assets less current liabilities is equal to the equity plus long term liabilities, so that ROCE can also be defined as follows:

ROCE = Earnings before interest and tax / (Equity + Long term liabilities)

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) Interpretation

The ROCE is considered to be a fundamental financial ratio for a business. It measures the ability of a business to use its money to generate earnings.

Interest is specifically excluded from the calculation by the use of earnings before interest and tax as the amount of interest paid depends on the amount of debt and therefore the capital injected by the owners. If interest was included it would distort the ROCE calculation and make it impossible to make comparisons with another business funded in a different manner.

Useful tips for Using the ROCE

  • The ROCE (return on capital employed) will vary from industry to industry. To make comparisons you need to use a comparable business operating in your sector.
  • The ROCE (return on capital employed) will need to be higher than the return available if the same amount of money was invested in a minimal risk deposit with a bank.
  • ROCE should always be higher than the rate at which the business borrows as an increase in borrowing leads to an increase in assets which in turn should give a higher return if the ROCE is at the correct level.
ROCE – Return on Capital Employed November 6th, 2016Team

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