In yesterday’s post, I indicated that if Union Pacific’s share price drops to $156.79 that the fund would use its excess cash to purchase shares. Well, today at 10:35 AM it did drop to $156.39.
Business ratios are a set of 22 different analytical formulas used to evaluate the overall value an performance of a business. In general, a sophisticated entrepreneur will utilize no less than a dozen of the business ratios to gain an overall understanding of the financial status of a company.
Operating profit margin refers to the value earned as a percentage of net sales. The operating profit is often referred to as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, (EBITDA). This is a misleading reference as operating profit is actually defined differently by industry sector. EBITDA is used primarily in valuing businesses.
Within the group of activity ratios, the total assets turnover rate is the broadest in scope. Similar to other activity ratios, it utilizes net sales as the numerator. However the denominator doesn’t focus in on a single balance sheet asset group like the working capital turnover or fixed assets turnover rates, it includes all assets.
The fixed assets turnover rate is another activity ratio whereby an income statement financial characteristic is compared to a balance sheet asset section. In this case, comparing adjusted sales against historical cost of fixed assets. This financial business ratio is only effective for business operations that are fixed asset intensive. With service based industries like carpet cleaning, professional firms and medical practices this particular ratio is impractical.
Ratios are used in business to compare companies of different sizes within the same industry. The goal is to discover the best investment for return on your stock purchase. Business ratios essentially equalize different size companies within the same industry. A common mistake is to compare two different industries within the same sector (explained below).