1. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Introduction
  2. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Profit Margin Analysis
  3. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Effective Tax Rate
  4. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Assets
  5. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Equity
  6. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Capital Employed

By Richard Loth (Contact | Biography)

This ratio indicates how profitable a company is relative to its total assets. The return on assets (ROA) ratio illustrates how well management is employing the company's total assets to make a profit. The higher the return, the more efficient management is in utilizing its asset base. The ROA ratio is calculated by comparing net income to average total assets, and is expressed as a percentage.

Formula:


Components:


As of December 31, 2005, with amounts expressed in millions, Zimmer Holdings had net income of $732.50 (income statement), and average total assets of $5,708.70 (balance sheet). By dividing, the equation gives us an ROA of 12.8% for FY 2005.

Variations:
Some investment analysts use the operating-income figure instead of the net-income figure when calculating the ROA ratio.

Commentary:
The need for investment in current and non-current assets varies greatly among companies. Capital-intensive businesses (with a large investment in fixed assets) are going to be more asset heavy than technology or service businesses.

In the case of capital-intensive businesses, which have to carry a relatively large asset base, will calculate their ROA based on a large number in the denominator of this ratio. Conversely, non-capital-intensive businesses (with a small investment in fixed assets) will be generally favored with a relatively high ROA because of a low denominator number.

It is precisely because businesses require different-sized asset bases that investors need to think about how they use the ROA ratio. For the most part, the ROA measurement should be used historically for the company being analyzed. If peer company comparisons are made, it is imperative that the companies being reviewed are similar in product line and business type. Simply being categorized in the same industry will not automatically make a company comparable. Illustrations (as of FY 2005) of the variability of the ROA ratio can be found in such companies as General Electric, 2.3%; Proctor & Gamble, 8.8%; and Microsoft, 18.0%.

As a rule of thumb, investment professionals like to see a company's ROA come in at no less than 5%. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. An important one would apply to banks, which strive to record an ROA of 1.5% or above.

Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Equity

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Use ROA To Gauge A Company's Profits

    Do you rely too heavily on ROE? Consider using return on assets for a more complete picture.
  2. Investing

    ROA and ROE Give Clear Picture Of Corporate Health

    ROE indicates if a company’s value is growing at an acceptable rate. ROA reveals how much profit a company earns for every dollar of assets.
  3. Investing

    ROA And ROE Give Clear Picture Of Corporate Health

    Both measure performance, but sometimes they tell a very different story. This is why they’re best used together.
  4. Investing

    Key Financial Ratios to Analyze Investment Banks

    Find out which financial ratios are most useful when analyzing an investment bank, and why tracking capital efficiency is especially important.
  5. Investing

    What Are The Main Differences Between Return On Equity (ROE) and Return On Assets?

    Return on equity and return on assets are important measures for evaluating how well a company manages the capital its shareholders entrust to it.
  6. Investing

    Earnings Power Drives Stocks

    Internal return on investment helps determine a stock's ability to propel shareholder returns.
  7. Investing

    The Value of Profitability Ratios

    How is a company being run? Is it generating profits? The answer to these questions lies in analyzing the profitability ratios of a company.
  8. Investing

    Analyzing AT&T's Price & Profitability Ratios in 2016 (T)

    Conduct fundamental analysis on AT&T by examining its price and profitability ratios.
  9. Managing Wealth

    Looking Deeper Into Capital Allocation

    Discover how companies decide how to spend their cash in a variety of market conditions.
  10. Investing

    How To Evaluate A Company's Balance Sheet

    Asset performance shows how what a company owes and owns affects its investment quality.
Trading Center