Operating Margin

Definition of 'Operating Margin'


A ratio used to measure a company's pricing strategy and operating efficiency.

Calculated as:


Operating Margin
Operating margin is a measurement of what proportion of a company's revenue is left over after paying for variable costs of production such as wages, raw materials, etc. A healthy operating margin is required for a company to be able to pay for its fixed costs, such as interest on debt.

Also known as "operating profit margin" or "net profit margin".

Investopedia explains 'Operating Margin'


Operating margin gives analysts an idea of how much a company makes (before interest and taxes) on each dollar of sales. When looking at operating margin to determine the quality of a company, it is best to look at the change in operating margin over time and to compare the company's yearly or quarterly figures to those of its competitors. If a company's margin is increasing, it is earning more per dollar of sales. The higher the margin, the better.

For example, if a company has an operating margin of 12%, this means that it makes $0.12 (before interest and taxes) for every dollar of sales. Often, nonrecurring cash flows, such as cash paid out in a lawsuit settlement, are excluded from the operating margin calculation because they don't represent a company's true operating performance.

For more information on this topic, check out Analyzing Operating Margins



Related Video for 'Operating Margin'

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Direct Bidder

    An entity that purchases Treasury securities at auction for a house account rather than on behalf of another party.
  2. Mortgage Modification

    A permanent change in a homeowner's home loan terms that makes the monthly loan payments affordable.
  3. Leveraged Benefits

    The use – by a business owner or professional practitioner – of their company’s receivables or current income to secure a loan whose proceeds then indirectly fund a retirement plan.
  4. Direct Consolidation Loan

    A loan that combines two or more federal education loans into a single loan. A Direct Consolidation Loan allows the borrower to make a single monthly payment. The loan is facilitated by the U.S. Department of Education and does not require borrowers to pay an application fee.
  5. Through Fund

    A type of target-date retirement fund whose asset allocation includes higher risk and potentially higher return investments "through" the fund's target date and beyond.
  6. Last In, First Out - LIFO

    An asset-management and valuation method that assumes that assets produced or acquired last are the ones that are used, sold or disposed of first.
Trading Center