Average Invested Capital

Metrics are only as good as the data that drive them. The best fundamental data in the world drives our metrics. Here’s proof from some of the most respected public & private institutions in the world.

Invested capital equals the sum of all cash that has been invested in a company over its life with no regard to financing form or accounting name. It’s the total investment in the business from which operating profit is derived.

In our calculation of ROIC, we use a time-weighted average invested capital, to most accurately capture the capital available to a business that can be used to generate NOPAT over the course of a year, or any given performance measurement period. This adjustment is necessary to account for acquisitions that close anytime other than the first day of a fiscal year.

For example, when a company makes an acquisition, the entire purchase price is added to the company’s balance sheet in the year of the acquisition along with any assumed debts or other long-term liabilities. However, the only income captured on the income statement is that which occurs after the acquisition closes. In other words, the balance sheet is charged with the full price of the acquisition while the income statement only gets a partial period of income. Except for the rare event that an acquisition closes on the first day of the fiscal year, one must adjust for this accounting mismatch of income vs capital deployed when calculating return on invested capital (ROIC).

Figure 1 shows how we calculate average invested capital for all companies in our coverage universe.

Figure 1: How to Calculate Average Invested Capital

Beginning Invested Capital + (Ending Invested Capital – Acquired Invested Capital) / 2) + Time Weighted Acquired Invested Capital

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

In order to time weight acquired invested capital, we calculate the percentage of the fiscal year the company had access to that capital.

For example, if a company completes an acquisition at the end of the first quarter, then the company has the remaining three quarters to use that capital. Therefore, 75% of that capital should be included in the average invested capital calculation to match the 75% of the year that the income statement will capture income from the acquisition.

Figure 1 shows that there are three main components to calculating average invested capital.

First is beginning invested capital, which is the amount of invested capital the company had at the start of the year.

Second is the average incremental non-acquired invested capital, which is the total average value of all new capital that wasn’t acquired as a part of an acquisition. It is calculated as ending invested capital minus beginning invested capital minus acquired invested capital. We divide this value by two since the most reasonable assumptions is that capital is acquired ratably over the course of the year.

The third component is the adjusted total acquired invested capital from acquisitions. This is the time weighted value of invested capital, and it is equivalent to the value of the acquired capital multiplied by the percentage of the year the company had to employ that invested capital.


You need a Stock Tracker 50 Membership or higher to view all the content on this page.

Already a member?

Learn more about our research here.

Want To Learn More?

Sign up to receive free alerts about all our new research reports including Long Ideas and Danger Zone picks.

Get Investment Research That Reads the Fine Print