What is Net Profit Margin?
Net profit margin, also known as net income margin or net margin, is the ratio of profit a company or business unit earns to the total amount of revenue (net sales) the company or business unit generates. Net profit margin is expressed as a percentage.
Net profit is what remains after accounting for all expenses, including operating costs, interest, and taxes. In a nutshell, net margin is the percentage of a company’s revenue that it keeps as profit.
Calculating a company’s net profit margin helps investors evaluate the relative amount of profit the company produces from its revenue.
A key indicator of overall financial health, net margin is also an excellent metric to use to compare a company with its competitors. This metric can signal whether a business is doing a comparatively better or worse job of controlling its expenses.
introduction of Net Profit Margin
Net profit margin is one of the most important indicators of a company’s financial health. By tracking increases and decreases in its net profit margin, a company can assess whether current practices are working and forecast profits based on revenues. Because companies express net profit margin as a percentage rather than a dollar amount, it is possible to compare the profitability of two or more businesses regardless of size.
This metric includes all factors in a company’s operations, including:
- Total revenue
- Additional income streams
- COGS and other operational expenses
- Interest expense on debt obligations
- Investment income and income from secondary operations
- One-time payments for unusual events such as lawsuits and taxes
Investors can assess if a company’s management is generating enough profit from its sales and whether operating costs and overhead costs are being contained. For example, a company can have growing revenue, but if its operating costs are increasing at a faster rate than revenue, its net profit margin will shrink. Ideally, investors want to see a track record of expanding margins, meaning that the net profit margin is rising over time.
Net Profit Margin Formula
Net Profit margin = Net Profit ⁄ Total revenue x 100
Net profit is calculated by deducting all company expenses from its total revenue. The result of the profit margin calculation is a percentage – for example, a 10% profit margin means for each $1 of revenue the company earns $0.10 in net profit. Revenue represents the total sales of the company in a period.
How to evaluate a company using net profit margin
Net margin can help investors compare a company’s performance across reporting periods and among its competitors. If a company undertakes a strategic initiative to increase its profitability, then investors can calculate net profit margin to evaluate whether that initiative is delivering results. If the company’s net margin is in decline, then investors can use that information to recognize deteriorating financial health.
A company with a higher net profit margin than those of its peers is more efficiently converting revenue into profit. If a company’s net margin is lower than those of its industry peers, then that could be a sign it is financially weaker or less efficient than its rivals.
What are the limitations to net profit margin?
While net profit margin is a useful metric, it has some limitations. For example, it is not a good gauge for comparing companies in different sectors. That’s because in some industries, low-single-digit net profit margins are considered quite good, while in other sectors, double-digit net profit margins are the norm.
Another limitation of the net margin metric is that it can vary greatly across reporting periods due to the potentially outsized effects of one-time events. Asset sales can temporarily boost income, inflating the net margin. Likewise, one-time expenses can weigh heavily on a company’s profitability for a reporting period. Because of this, it’s important to understand the factors that influence net profit during any given period to determine whether calculating net margin is appropriate to evaluate the company.
Net profit margin is just one of many metrics that investors can use to analyze a company, and it is certainly not the sole metric that determines the worthiness of a stock investment.
Why Is the Net Profit Margin Important?
The net margin is perhaps the most important measure of a company’s overall profitability. It is the ratio of net profits to revenues for a company or business segment. Expressed as a percentage, the net profit margin shows how much profit is generated from every $1 in sales, after accounting for all business expenses involved in earning those revenues. Larger profit margins mean that more of every dollar in sales is kept as profit.