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 operatingincome figure instead of the netincome figure when calculating the ROA ratio.
Commentary:
The need for investment in current and noncurrent assets varies greatly among companies. Capitalintensive businesses (with a large investment in fixed assets) are going to be more asset heavy than technology or service businesses.
In the case of capitalintensive 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, noncapitalintensive 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 differentsized 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 TERMS

Return On Assets  ROA
An indicator of how profitable a company is relative to its total ... 
Rights of Accumulation  ROA
A right that allows a shareholder to receive reduced sales charges ... 
Calculated Intangible Value  CIV
A method of valuing a company's intangible assets. This calculation ... 
Cash Return On Assets Ratio
A ratio used to compare a businesses performance among other ... 
Long Term Debt To Total Assets Ratio
A measurement representing the percentage of a corporation's ... 
Asset Coverage Ratio
A test that determines a company's ability to cover debt obligations ...
RELATED FAQS

What is the difference between a primary and a secondary market?
Examine the return on assets ratio as it relates to the insurance industry, and learn what the industry average is for return ... Read Answer >> 
What is the formula for calculating return on assets (ROA)?
Learn about the calculation and interpretation of the return on assets formula and how it is used to analyze a company's ... Read Answer >> 
What are the main differences between return on equity (ROE) and return on assets ...
Return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) are two of the most important measures for evaluating how effectively a ... Read Answer >> 
What is the difference between ROCE and ROA?
Understand the difference between the profitability ratios of return on capital employed and return on assets, and learn ... Read Answer >> 
What is the formula for calculating return on assets (ROA) in Excel?
Find out more about the return on assets, or ROA, ratio and the formula for calculating a company's return on assets in Microsoft ... Read Answer >> 
Should I expect growth or income from buying stock in the consumer packaged goods ...
Find out how annual returns are expressed in financial statements. How do fundamental investors measure annual returns? What ... Read Answer >>
You May Also Like
Sponsored content