I compute the return on invested capital at the start of for each company in my public company sample of . Aswath Damodaran said. January 28, at am by Aswath Damodaran . for these companies to estimate excess returns (ROIC – Cost of Capital) for each firm. Return on Capital or Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) is something I . Aswath Damodaran is an NYU professor and the guru of valuation.

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That said, I have the law of large numbers as my ally. If the accounting return is a good measure of what you actually earn on your invested capital, and the cost of capital is the rate of return that you need to make on that invested capital to break even, a “good” company should generate positive excess returns, a “neutral” company should earn roughly its cost of capital and a ” bad” company should have trouble earning its cost of capital.

Notwithstanding these concerns, analysts often compute a return on invested capital ROIC as rroic measure of investment return earned by a company:.

Numbers don’t lie, or do they? The picture below reports gross, operating and net margins, by sector, for global companies at the start of With financial service firms, where the excess returns are better measured by looking at the difference between ROE and cost of equity, the excess returns remain positive for the moment, but the future hold sthe terrifying prospect of unbridled competition from the fin tech startups.

Monday, January 30, January Data Update 7: China, the other big market in terms of population, does not seem to offer the same positive excess returns, and that should be a cautionary note for those who tell the China story to justify sky high valuations for companies growing there. The median operating margin across all companies is 4. My observations and insights: For investors, looking at this listing of good and bad businesses inI would offer a warning about extrapolating to investing choices.

There is a litany of writing about ROIC by people far smarter on the topic than myself. It is not only investors who bear the cost of these poor investments but the economy overall, since more capital invested in bad businesses means less capital available for new and perhaps much better businesses, something to think about the next time you read a rant against stock buybacks or dividends.

This step, though seemingly simple, is fraught with difficulties. Some of the sectors that fall into the bad business column did not surprise me, since they have been long standing members of this club. If you are wary because the returns computed used the most recent 12 months of data, you are right be.


Some of the sectors on this list will attribute their place on the list to macro concerns, with oil companies pointing to low oil prices.

ROIC = NOPAT / Invested Capital

That, in a nutshell, is how we define investment success in corporate finance and in this post, I would like to use that perspective to measure whether publicly traded companies are successful. We respect your privacy no spam ever.

Not only are there no surprises here, but it is not easy to use this cross sectional distribution to pass judgment on your company’s relative profitability for a simple reason.

I ric the asset approach because damodarzn denominator consists of the assets that a business has invested in so it is a bit more telegraphic of the core drivers. Aswath Damodaran is an NYU professor and the guru of valuation. I could tell you stories that can answer this question differently, but the answer lies in the numbers. Businesses that can generate higher returns on capital can invest less in capital expenditures and thus generate more free cash flow to distribute to shareholders.

A large number of companies, if put on the spot, will not even able to tell you how much capital they have invested in existing assets, either because the investments occurred way in the past or because of the way they are accounted for.

Compounders and Cheap Stocks. To the extent that the market is pricing in investment quality into stock prices, there is a very real possibility that the companies in the worst businesses may offer the best investment opportunities, if markets have over reacted to investment performance, and the companies in the best businesses may be the ones to avoid, if the market has pushed up prices too much.

While the entire sector data is available for both US and Global companies, the list below highlights the non-financial service sectors that earn less than the cost of capital:. The distribution across all firms is reported below: Investors expend tremendous effort looking for businesses trading at supposedly cheap valuations, in relation to earnings or book value, but Munger is saying don’t waste your time trying to bottom fish and find companies that are supposedly cheap.

Aswath Damodaran – January 2018 Data Update 7: Growth and Value

Regional and Sector Differences If you accept my numbers, a third of all companies are destroying value, a third are running in place and a third are creating value, but are there differences across countries? The first step towards measuring investment success is measuring the return that companies make on their investments.


What drives PE Ratios? Base Hit Investing is one of my my favorite investment blogs and John – the author- has penned a series of very insightful posts on ROIC.

Aswath Damodaran – January Data Update 7: Growth and Value

Where are you in the life cycle? We need to look at other metrics and also understand the core business and business model. The profit margins you focus on, to measure success and viability, will also shift as a company moves through the life cycle:.

There are two additional points I would add here: Finally, if you are doing this for an individual company, you can use much more finesse in your computation and use this spreadsheet to make your own adjustments to the number. Base Hit Investing has a wonderful post explaining this very concept in more detail, which I’ll also re-list below.

Consequently, any accounting actions, no matter how well intentioned, will affect your return on invested capital. To examine differences across sectors, I looked at excess returns, by sector, for US companies, in Januaryand classified them into good businesses earning more than the cost of capital and bad businesses earning less than the cost of capital.

A Taxing Year Ahead? This is the where the all important denominator comes in – Invested Capital.

They may appear expensive in relation to earnings or book value, but over the long term, businesses and their stocks will reflect their return on capital and the majority of the return on a given investment will be driven by this factor. Here, while there are multiple measures that people use, da,odaran are only two consistent measures.

But let’s pause a moment and talk more about the interplay between Return on Capital and valuation. The cost of capital is measure of what investors can generate in the market on investments of equivalent risk. I have spent the last few posts trying to estimate what firms need to generate as returns on investments, culminating in the cost of capital estimates in the last post.

And I’ve made a high level guesstimate of required cash based on what I know about the businesses. The list of damodwran I look at when I analyze businesses is long: