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Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)


Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) is a profitability ratio that measures the return a company generates for those who provide capital, either shareholders or debt holders. It is calculated by dividing net income by the total capital invested. Essentially, ROIC shows how efficiently a company uses its capital to generate profits.


Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) phonetics would be:Ruh-turn on In-vest-ed Kap-uh-tuhl (Ar-Oy-See)

Key Takeaways

<ol><li>Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) is a profitability ratio that measures the return that an investment generates for those who provide capital, i.e. bondholders and stockholders. ROIC indicates how effective a company is at turning capital into profits.</li><li>The formula to calculate ROIC is Net Income after tax divided by the total capital invested (shareholder’s equity + debt). A high ROIC is usually a sign that a company has a strong competitive advantage over its peers and is able to generate a higher profit with less investment.</li><li>ROIC is especially useful when comparing the performance of companies in capital-intensive sectors such as utilities and telecoms. However, this ratio isn’t much use for firms in industries such as online businesses, where physical assets are minimal.</li></ol>


Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) is a crucial metric in business and finance because it measures a company’s effectiveness in investing capital to generate profits. It’s important because it provides insights into how well a company uses its money to generate value and the efficiency of its capital expenditures. An organization with a high ROIC is usually more efficient at turning capital into profits and is, thus, considered a better investment. It also forms a comparative basis to assess performance over different periods, against competitors, or industry benchmarks. Therefore, a robust ROIC can often lead to increased investor confidence and a higher stock price.


The Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) is a profitability measure that investors and analysts use to evaluate how effectively a company generates earnings from its capital investments. It is particularly important for companies with significant capital investments such as real estate, manufacturing, and other capital-intensive industries. ROIC provides a lens into a company’s investment strategy and decision-making process, by assessing whether a company is investing wisely and creating value for its shareholders.Consistently high ROIC can indicate that a company has a moat, which is a sustainable competitive advantage that allows it to generate greater profits than its competitors. Therefore, a higher ROIC is a good sign that a company is managing its investments effectively to produce substantial returns. To investors, a company with a high return on invested capital represents an opportunity to reap substantial rewards from their investments, since it implies that the company transforms invested capital into profitable returns efficiently. Thus, analyzing ROIC is a crucial part of investment decision-making and financial health evaluation of a company.


1. Apple Inc.: Apple has historically shown a high ROIC, primarily driven by its strong brand, innovative products, and efficient use of capital. In 2020, Apple’s ROIC was over 30%, meaning that for every dollar invested in capital, Apple generated 30 cents in profit, showcasing the company’s efficiency and profitability.2. Walmart: As a global retail giant, Walmart has leveraged its massive scale to generate strong returns on invested capital. Despite its low-margin business, Walmart has consistently achieved a ROIC of around 10%. This is largely due to its cost leadership, high inventory turnover, and effective supply chain management.3. Tesla, Inc.: Looking at an example at the other end of the spectrum, Tesla, despite its brand popularity and market leadership in electric vehicles, showed a negative ROIC for several years as a result of high research and development costs and capital expenditures. However, the company’s ROIC turned positive in recent years as Tesla began to achieve scale and profitability, illustrating that a negative ROIC is not necessarily a bad thing for growth companies if they can turn it around in the future with scalability and efficiency improvements.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)?

ROIC, which stands for Return on Invested Capital, is a calculation that determines the efficiency with which a company allocates its capital. It measures how much profit a company generates for every dollar invested in the business.

How do you calculate ROIC?

You can calculate ROIC by dividing the net operating profit after tax by the invested capital. The result is generally expressed as a percentage.

What is considered a good ROIC value?

A good ROIC value depends on the industry, but generally, a ROIC of at least 15-20% is considered good. High ROICs can demonstrate a company’s ability to generate profits effectively.

How does ROIC differ from Return on Equity (ROE) or Return on Assets (ROA)?

While all three metrics are profitability ratios, they differ in the behaviors they measure. ROE evaluates a firm’s ability to generate profits for shareholders, ROA examines how efficiently a firm uses its assets to generate profits, while ROIC considers how well a company generates cash flow relative to the capital it has invested in its business.

Can ROIC be negative?

Yes, ROIC can be negative. A negative ROIC suggests that a company is destroying value as it’s not generating enough returns to cover the costs of its capital investment.

What does a high ROIC tell us?

A high ROIC often indicates that the company is managing its investments efficiently and is likely creating value for shareholders. However, it’s essential to compare a company’s ROIC with its competitors or within its industry, rather than looking at the number in isolation.

Why is ROIC important in assessing a company’s financial health?

ROIC is used frequently as it provides a clear picture of a company’s profitability in relation to its invested capital. A consistently high ROIC might indicate that the company has a competitive advantage, such as superior management, which could result in a better financial performance.

Is ROIC the same as ROI (Return of Investment)?

While they are similar in many respects, ROIC and ROI are not the same. ROI generally applies to individual investment decisions and does not take into consideration the cost of capital. In contrast, ROIC assesses the efficiency of a company’s investment on a corporate level, factoring in debt and other associated costs.

Related Finance Terms

  • Invested Capital: The total amount of money that was invested into a business or project.
  • Net Operating Profit After Tax (NOPAT): This is the profit a company has earned for a period, after deducting operating expenses and taxes but before deducting interest expense and principal repayments.
  • Capital Efficiency: This refers to how well a company generates profits from its capital. A high ROIC indicates effective capital efficiency.
  • Economic Value Added (EVA): This is a measure of a company’s financial performance based on the residual wealth calculated by deducting its cost of capital from its operating profit.
  • Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC): The average rate that a company is expected to pay to finance its assets. WACC is the minimum return that a company must earn on its existing asset base to satisfy its creditors, owners, and other providers of capital.

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