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Invested Capital: Definition And Formulae

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Invested capital equals the sum of all cash that has been invested in a company over its life without regard to financing form or accounting name. It is the total of investments in the business from which operating revenue is derived. It can be calculated two mathematically equivalent ways as shown in Figure 1.

Invested capital is the denominator in our ROIC calculation, the primary driver of economic earnings.

Figure 1: Formulae for Invested Capital

fig1_formulaForInvCap* NIBCLs – stands for Non-Interest-Bearing Current Liabilities
* * Includes leased assets
Source: New Constructs, LLC

Below are the primary accounting distortions in reported financial statements that require economic translation and adjustment for the Invested Capital calculation.

  1. Add back off-balance sheet reserves
  2. Add back off-balance sheet debt due to operating leases
  3. Remove discontinued operations
  4. Remove accumulated Other Comprehensive Income
  5. Add back asset write-downs
  6. Remove deferred compensation assets and liabilities
  7. Remove deferred tax assets and liabilities
  8. Remove under or over funded pensions
  9. Remove excess cash
  10. Prior to 2002: Add back unrecorded and accumulated goodwill
  11. Adjust for midyear acquisitions
  12. Remove non-operating unconsolidated subsidiaries

Average Invested Capital is the average of beginning and ending invested capital. If the company discloses the purchase price and closing date of an acquisition, we weight the acquired invested capital by the percent of the fiscal year the acquisition was held.

Invested Capital Turns = Total Operating Revenue/Invested Capital

Here are details on the numerous footnotes adjustments to NOPAT to ensure the best ROIC in the business.

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3 Comments

  1. varadha says:

    Terrific, yet simple analysis. I’ve always been a fan of ROIC as a measure of capital efficiency and believe that no size/growth outperformance can replace the quest for efficiency.

    Sort of like a big gas guzzling v8 that needs ever increasing gallons of fuel to keep its engine running

  2. David says:

    But Angie’s $90 per user acquisition cost is going to go away. That’s what their approach probably is. How would their outlook be if that $90 cost dropped down to a total cost of $3 per user?

  3. David:

    That would be great, but cost per user acquisition is not something that’s very easy for a company to fix. ANGI can slash their marketing budget to the bone, but then they would stop acquiring new members. They would probably lose members in fact, as their membership renewal rate is at ~75% and declining. If they cut marketing expense by ~95% as you seem to be suggesting, ANGI might be able to eke out 1 year of slight profits, but they would start shedding members and losing money very quickly. ANGI’s only hope is to keep its marketing budget high and hope it can reach the scale and brand awareness to be able to sustain its business while scaling back marketing costs enough to turn a profit. The fact that ANGI’s revenue growth is slowing down even as its marketing costs keep increasing makes it very unlikely it will achieve that goal.

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