Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Assets
AAA
  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

Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Assets

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

  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
RELATED TERMS
  1. Investment Income Ratio

    The ratio of an insurance company’s net investment income to ...
  2. Combined Ratio

    A measure of profitability used by an insurance company to indicate ...
  3. Policyholder Dividend Ratio

    The policyholder dividend ratio is a measurement of the profitability ...
  4. Return On Policyholder Surplus

    The ratio of an insurance company’s net income to its policyholder ...
  5. Historic Pricing

    A method for calculating the value of an asset using the last ...
  6. Lean Enterprise

    A production and management philosophy that considers any part ...
  1. What is a good interest coverage ratio?

    Learn the importance of the interest coverage ratio, one of the primary debt ratios analysts use to evaluate a company's ...
  2. What is a bad interest coverage ratio?

    Understand how interest coverage ratio is calculated and what it signifies, and learn what market analysts consider to be ...
  3. What is a good gearing ratio?

    Understand the meaning of the gearing ratio, how it is calculated, the definition of high and low gearing, and how they reflect ...
  4. What is the difference between the gearing ratio and the debt-to-equity ratio?

    Dive deeper into gearing ratios: what are they, how are they used and why the debt to equity ratio is one of the most popular ...

You May Also Like

Related Tutorials
  1. Investing Basics

    Industry Handbook

  2. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Investing For Safety and Income Tutorial

  3. Fundamental Analysis

    Discounted Cash Flow Analysis

  4. Economics

    American Depositary Receipt Basics

  5. Fundamental Analysis

    Ratio Analysis Tutorial

Trading Center