# CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio

## What is the CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio?

The CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio assesses how much of a company’s cash flow from operations is being devoted to capital expenditure. Such investments entail engaging in capital-intensive projects such as expanding a production facility, launching a new product line, or restructuring a division.

The CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio is a financial risk ratio that assesses how much emphasis a company is placing upon investing in capital-intensive projects. Ideally, the projects that a company chooses to pursue show a positive NPV even with worst-case assumptions regarding the discount rate used, the tax rate, or revenue growth rate.

The ratio is generally a good gauge to quantify how much focus on growth a company has. Typically, smaller companies that are still growing and expanding have a higher CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio, since such businesses are likely investing more in R&D. Lower ratios could indicate that a company has reached maturity and that it is no longer pursuing aggressive growth.

### How can we calculate CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio?

The CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio is calculated by dividing a company’s cash flow from operations by its capital expenditures. The formula to calculate the ratio is as follows:

Where:

Cash flow from operations  – refers to the magnitude of cash flows that the business generated from operations during the accounting period. The figure is found in the statement of cash flows

Capital Expenditure – refers to investments that the business makes in pursuing growth projects. The figure can usually be found in an asset account listed on the balance sheet, that is depreciated over time.

While a high CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio is generally a good sign for a growing company, an excessively high ratio may be a sign of trouble. If a company is spending all of its cash in capital expenditure projects, it may run into liquidity issues at some point. If a company has to make periodic debt repayments or pay high fixed costs, it may be compromising its ability to make these payments if it invests too heavily in CAPEX.

Conversely, an excessively low ratio for a startup would indicate that it is not investing sufficiently in R&D, which may compromise the business’ ability to grow its revenues in the long term.

### CAPEX to Operating Cash Example

Jane’s Breads wants to calculate its CAPEX to Operating Cash Ratio in order to assess its current focus on growth against its planned growth strategy. Below are snippets from the business’ financial statements, with the required inputs highlighted by red boxes:

Using the formula provided above, we arrive at the following figures:

Here, we see that Jane’s is pursuing a very aggressive growth strategy. In 2015 and 2016, Jane’s is investing more in CAPEX than it is generating from its operations; meaning that Jane’s is spending more than \$1 in CAPEX for every dollar of operating cash generated. This is a clear indication that the business is utilizing other sources of capital, such as debt, equity, or retained earnings to finance its capital expansion projects. We see that the ratios are trending down over the time span displayed. This indicates that Jane’s is slowly starting to shift focus away from growth as the business matures.

To better understand the financial health of the business, the CAPEX to Operating Cash ratio should be compared to a number of companies that operate in the same industry. If some other firms operating in this industry have higher ratios than Jane’s, we can conclude that Jane’s is doing a relatively good job of pursuing its growth strategy.

Thank you for reading this CFI article! CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To learn more about related topics, check out the following resources:

• How to Calculate Debt Service Coverage Ratio
• Current Portion of Long-Term Debt
• Accounting Fundamentals Course – CFI
• Defensive Interval Ratio

### Financial Analyst Training

Get world-class financial training with CFI’s online certified financial analyst training program!

Gain the confidence you need to move up the ladder in a high powered corporate finance career path.

Learn financial modeling and valuation in Excel the easy way, with step-by-step training.