In our opinion, free cash flow provides useful information to investors regarding our ability to generate cash from business operations that is available for acquisitions and other investments, service of debt principal, dividends and share repurchases. We use free cash flow, as defined, as one measure to monitor and evaluate performance. Our definition of free cash flow may be different from definitions used by other companies.

The following table summarizes free cash flow by quarter:
 
Quarter Ended
Dec. 31, 2010   March 31, 2011   June 30, 2011   Sept. 30, 2011   Dec. 31, 2011   March 31, 2012   June 30, 2012   Sept. 30, 2012
Cash provided by continuing operating activities $ 12.6 $ 225.2 $ 224.7 $ 181.2 $ (189.0 ) $ 253.5 264.1 390.1
Capital expenditures of continuing operations (20.3 ) (22.6 ) (33.1 ) (44.1 ) (31.6 ) (30.9 ) (32.4 ) (44.7 )
Excess income tax benefit from share-based compensation 12.1   23.6   2.1   0.3   9.8   7.0   0.5   1.2  
Free cash flow 1 $ 4.4   $ 226.2   $ 193.7   $ 137.4   $ (210.8 ) $ 229.6   $ 232.2   $ 346.6  
 
1 Free cash flow for the first quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2011 include discretionary pre-tax contributions to the company’s U.S. pension trust of $300 million and $150 million, respectively.
 
 

Return On Invested Capital

Our press release contains information regarding Return On Invested Capital (ROIC), which is a non-GAAP financial measure. We believe that ROIC is useful to investors as a measure of performance and of the effectiveness of the use of capital in our operations. We use ROIC as one measure to monitor and evaluate performance. Our measure of ROIC may be different from that used by other companies. We define ROIC as the percentage resulting from the following calculation:

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