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Return on capital

Introduction to return on capital and cost of capital. Using these concepts to decide where to invest. Created by Sal Khan.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user Prathmesh Raut
    What is the difference between ROC(return on capital) and ROA(return on assets), if any ?
    (5 votes)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Ryan
      ROA = net income / total assets

      ROC = NOPAT / (Book Value of Debt + Book Value of Equity - Cash)

      NOPAT = Net operating profit after taxes. Which is essentially EBIT minus taxes, which is the same as net income if interest payments weren't subtracted.

      Cash is subtracted from the denominator because you are trying to get an accurate representation of all of the invested capital (debt + equity) that has actually been used by the company.
      (11 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user jhmcqueen
    Is there a substantive difference between Return on Capital (ROC) and Return on Investment (ROI)? Or is it just a matter of labeling?
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user adityapurohit117
    When you assume that the return of capital is 10 % and the amount of money returned is 100k dont you assume so after removing all the liabilities of the restaurant that is the 15% debt also ? ( )
    (3 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user John Richter
      Not sure I quite understand what the question is, but it may be helpful to consider the difference between the owner of the business borrowing the money (as a personal loan, as Sal implied, with a personal obligation to repay it), and the company borrowing the money, in which case it would be part of the company's financial statements.

      Put another way, Sal is saying it's a 10% ROC prior to raising the debt (but as I said, it wasn't the company raising the debt in the first place so Sal could keep things simple). I suppose Sal would say the ROC post-debt would be -5%, but he (again) didn't want to get into the (very common) tax deductibility of interest, and start explaining why it was really 10% - (1 - tax rate) * 15%. Sheesh, that would be a tough way to introduce the concept.

      There are other problems that are permeating the Q&A on this page, which seem determined to shift from Sal's non-accounting "joe Investor" approach, which is all about cash (cash flow specifically). Some of the answers and themes are tying ROC to accounting positions and terms, e.g. NOPAT (I believe net operating profit after tax), which is a non-cash item. This is more advanced than Sal is trying to start with, so perhaps for new learners of this topic, presume that no knowledge of accounting or acronyms is required to be able to analyze problems as Sal has proposed.
      (2 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user justinjmonsen
    Towards the minute mark, Sal glistens over the concept of Cost of Capital. Is there a video where this is explained in full? Thanks!
    (3 votes)
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  • old spice man green style avatar for user Mr. Wiedmeier
    That was a awesome video! dont you think?
    (2 votes)
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  • winston baby style avatar for user SmartyKingJulien
    This video is placed under Public policy and economic growth in the long-run consequences of stabilization policies topic in the AP Macroeconomics course.

    This video describes investment and the concept of ROC (especially from the view of an individual) whereas the exercise and title of the topic suggest are related to public policy and its effect on economic growth.

    The lesson summary also covers entirely different points to the video ( the key term do not even mention ROC) and I feel the video is not suitable for the topic and its questions.

    Thanking you,
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user fthanedar
    I have two questions:

    1. How do you figure risk into return on capital and

    2. Is a 10% return normal for a project?
    (2 votes)
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    • male robot hal style avatar for user Andrew M
      There is a whole branch of finance dedicated to answering your first question. It's much more complex than you might think. You have to make assumptions about the definition of risk, how you are going to estimate the risk of a given project, and what the required return should be for a given amount of risk. The most commonly taught and applied approach to this is the Capital Asset Pricing Model, which defines risk as volatility and asserts that the required return of a project should be equal to a risk-free rate plus a premium that is computed by multiplying the amount of risk by a measure of return per unit of risk. You can find more about it in most corporate finance textbooks, or online.

      10% would not be an unusual expected or required return for a project.
      (0 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Mike  Leslie
    Is there a follow up video to this one?
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Haydar
      I quote " If you want to learn more about finance, watch precalculus videos (becuase some involve finance), micro and macro economics (good to study economy before finace so you you know when to buy, hold, or sell stocks), then watch the Venture Capital and Capital Market playlist (becuase it has more finance and then some). "
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Christopher
    At the end of the video, he mentions "in my next video I will go into more examples" but I cannot locate the next available video in this series. Can you point me to that location?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user ethan siegel
    but after 12 years or so wouldn't your return change from popularaty of the restraunt and price of your food and ingredants etc ps sorry bout spelling
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

Welcome to my presentation on return on capital. Let me write that down. I'm using the wrong color. Let me use a nicer color. Let me go to white. I want to do this presentation first, because I think this is really going to give you the big picture on how you should think about what something is worth. Whether you should invest your money into it. And how you should weigh the different options you have in terms of what you actually have to do with your money, in terms of where you want to put it. Do you want to put it in the bank? Do you want to buy a house? Do you want to pay off your credit cards? Et cetera, et cetera. So let's just define return on capital. And just so you know, I'm not necessarily going to be strict on the accounting conventions, or the GAP conventions -- that's the accounting conventions in this country. I'm going to do it more on a hands-on, how Joe Investors should think about their money. So in this scenario, I define return on capital as just the cash you get per year divided by the total cash you put in. And, well, I don't want to just say, cash. There's other ways to measure return. But actually, to keep it simple, let's just say cash. So let's think about how this works out. Let's say, I have an idea. I have a restaurant. And that restaurant, it'll cost $1 million. It'll cost $1 million investment in this restaurant. It's going to be a $1 million investment. And let's say that, per year, after paying all the expenses, after paying the utility, after paying the employees, after repairing, and maintenance, and after paying taxes, everything, let's say this restaurant makes $100,000 a year. And that's after taxes and everything. That's what goes into my pocket. So in this situation, my return on capital, the way I've defined it, is $100,000 divided by $1 million, or we could just say a thousand thousand dollars, equals 10%. Pretty straightforward. You're probably saying, Sal, this is silly. Why are you wasting my time? Well, maybe it is. But I think you'll find that this is going to lay a foundation that will eventually blow your mind. So let's keep going. Let me do another. OK, so I said the restaurant -- let's make it a pizza restaurant -- let's just say, the restaurant return on capital is equal to 10%. Right? I can put in $1 million and I'll get in $100,000 per year. That's where I got 10%. Let me write that down. I get $100,000 per year off of $1 million investment. Now, that's one project. I'm not going to factor in things like risk and probabilities just yet. Let's just say, for sure, I know that if I put my money here, I'm going to get 10% on my money. And let's say the other option with my money is a beauty parlor. And let's say that that also costs $1 million. And this beauty parlor gets me $50,000 a year. I think it's very obvious to you already which investment you'd rather invest in. Because the return on capital on this beauty parlor is only 50,000 divided by a million, or 5%. So this is obvious. You'd rather do the restaurant than a beauty parlor. And in general, after adjusting for risk, you always want to go with the project that has the higher return on capital. And, later on, there will be nuances in terms of when you get that return. Maybe you would rather have a slightly lower return if you get the money faster. Or a slightly higher return if you're taking on risks, et cetera, et cetera. Or to compensate for risk. So we know we want to do the restaurant. But do we definitely want to do the restaurant? We'd rather do the restaurant than the beauty parlor, right? But my question to you is, do we definitely want to do the restaurant? And this is where the return on capital becomes interesting. Because what matters, before we put the money into the restaurant, is to think about what the cost of that money is to us. And this is what I think will be a little bit of a new concept to you. So I'm going to introduce you, now, to the notion of a cost of capital. So let me erase this. OK. So the restaurant costs $1 million. And it gives me $100,000 a year. And that's a 10% return on capital. Now, let's say I have to borrow all the money. And there's some bank that's willing to give me all the money for this restaurant. And the interest rate on this loan is, let's say, 15%. Is it still a good idea for me to open up the restaurant? Well, if I have a loan and I have to borrow the whole amount -- so I'm going to have a loan for $1 million to buy that same restaurant. And I'm going to be charged 15% in interest every year . And I'm not going to take taxes, and the fact that you could deduct taxes, et cetera, et cetera , into account just yet. Let's assume that my total cost is 15% per year in interest. So I'm going to have to spend $150,000 per year in interest. So my question to you is, does it still make sense for me to open up this restaurant? Every year, I'm going to be making $100,000 from the restaurant itself. But I'm going to be paying $150,000 a year in interest. So you'll probably say, Sal, once again, you have just restated the obvious. No, you would not want to do this restaurant. Because every year, $50,000 will be burning out of your pocket. Now, you might think that this is obvious, but I'm going to show you many, many examples of where people are actively doing this. People who you would otherwise assume could do this type of math. And it's especially happening in the housing market. But anyway. So in this situation, you wouldn't want to invest in it. And a very simple way of thinking about this is you'd only want to invest, you only want to do a project, if your return on capital is greater than your cost of capital. This is the only time that you want to invest in a project. With that said, I'm not going to go back to what we just did. I just showed you something that we thought was obvious, but I'm going to re-ask you a question. So we had the restaurant. And we have the beauty parlor. Let's call it BP for short. They both cost $1 million. Let me write ROC. The ROC of the restaurant, we said, was 10%. And the ROC on the beauty parlor, we said, was 5%. So right now, superficially, it looks like the restaurant is just a better project. But then we said the cost of capital, so the interest rate. How much does it cost for us to get that $1 million? The interest rate to borrow money for a restaurant is 15%. And we said that this is not a good investment. Because our cost of capital is higher than our return on capital. And you could do the math and figure it out. But what if there was some kind of government program? They just felt that there weren't enough beauty parlors in the country. And they were willing to give you a really cheap loan to buy a beauty parlor. And the government program, they said, we're going to give you a low-interest loan of 2%. So my question to you is, now, which project would you rather do? Superficially, it looks like the restaurant was better. You get a 10% return, as opposed to 5%. But your cost of capital, the interest rate you would have to pay on a loan for the beauty parlor, all of a sudden looks a little bit better. In fact, this is actually a good investment. Because your cost of capital is less than your return on capital. We can even do the math. Every year the beauty parlor will generate $50,000. And you'll be paying $20,000 in interest. So you'll be netting $30,000 without having to put any money for yourself. You'll be borrowing all the money. So clearly this is a good investment. So that's it, now, for the intro on return on capital and cost of capital. And in my next presentations, I'll go into a little bit more detail and do a few more nuanced examples.