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If there is outstanding preferred stock, the firm value is the sum of the equity value, debt value, and preferred stock value, plus the value of the interest tax shield. The debt holders and stock holders each have a claim on the cash flows of the firm. In a given time period, the debt holders have a claim equal to the interest payments during that period plus any principal payments that are due.

Cost of capital

The stock holders then have a claim equal to the unlevered free cash flow in that period plus the cash generated by the interest tax shield, minus the claims of the debt holders. It is the undiversifiable volatility in the operating earnings EBIT. Business risk is affected by the firm's investment decisions. A measure for the business risk is the asset beta, also known the unlevered beta.

In terms of the discount rate, the return on assets of a firm can be expressed as a function of the risk-free rate and the business risk premium BRP :. Total corporate risk is the sum of the business and financial risks and is measured by the equity beta, also known as the levered beta. The business risk premium BRP and financial risk premium FRP are reflected in the levered equity beta, and the return on levered equity can be written as:.

Debt beta is a measure of the risk of a firm's defaulting on its debt. The return on debt can be written as:. The cost of capital is the rate of return that must be realized in order to satisfy investors. The cost of debt capital is the return demanded by investors in the firm's debt; this return largely is related to the interest the firm pays on its debt.

In the past some managers believed that equity capital had no cost if no dividends were paid; however, equity investors incur an opportunity cost in owning the equity of the firm and they therefore demand a rate of return comparable to what they could earn by investing in securities of comparable risk. The required rate of return on assets that is, on unlevered equity can be found using the CAPM:.

Under the Modigliani-Miller assumptions of constant cash flows and constant debt level, the required return on equity is:. The overall cost of capital is a weighted-average of the cost of its equity capital and the after-tax cost of its debt capital. The weighted average cost of capital WACC then is given by:. Assuming perpetuities for the cash flows, the weighted average cost of capital can be calculated as:. Neglecting taxes, the WACC would be equal to the expected return on assets because the WACC is the return on a portfolio of all the firm's equity and all of its debt, and such a portfolio essentially has claim to all of the firm's assets.

For arbitrary cash flows, and under the assumption that the debt to value ratio is held constant, the following relationship derived by James A. Miles and John R. Ezzell is applicable:. Under the same assumptions, the cost of equity capital can be calculated from r A and r D using the following relationship from Miles and Ezzell:. In order to use the CAPM to calculate the return on assets or the return on equity, one needs to estimate the asset unlevered beta or the equity levered beta of the firm.

The beta that often is reported for a stock is the levered beta for the firm. When estimating a beta for a particular line of business, it is better to use the beta of an existing firm in that exact line of business a pure play rather than an average beta of several firms in similar lines of business that are not exactly the same.

Expressing the levered beta, unlevered beta, and debt beta in terms of the covariance of their corresponding returns with that of the market, one can derive an expression relating the three betas. This relationship between the betas is:. To value the operations of the firm using a discounted cash flow model, the unlevered free cash flow is used.

The unlevered free cash flow represents the cash generated by the firm's operations and is the cash that is free to be paid to stock and bond holders after all other operating cash outlays have been performed.

Award Winning

The value of the firm at the end of the last year for which unique cash flows are projected is known as the terminal value. When calculating the amount of cash flowing to debt and equity holders, it is not appropriate to use the unlevered free cash flows because these cash flows do not reflect the tax savings from the interest paid. Starting with the UFCF, add back the taxes saved to obtain the total amount of cash available to suppliers of capital.

Shareholder Equity on the Balance Sheet

Hurdle Price At times a firm may wish to know at what price it would have to sell its product for a particular investment to have a positive net present value. A procedure for determining this price is as follows: Express the operating cash flow in terms of price. There may be multiple phases such as a short start-up period, a long operating period, and a final year in which the terminal value is calculated. Write out the expression for the NPV using the appropriate discount rate. For the longer operating period, one can calculate an annuity factor to multiply by the operating cash flow expression.

Solve the expression for the cash flow that would result in an NPV of zero. Since the operating cash flow was written in terms of price, the price now can be found. Debt Valuation While debt may be issued at a particular face value and coupon rate, the debt value changes as market interest rates change. The debt can be valued by determining the present value of the cash flows, discounting the coupon payments at the market rate of interest for debt of the same duration and rating.

The final period's cash flow will include the final coupon payment and the face value of the bond. Investment Decision If the unlevered NPV of a project is negative, aside from potential strategic benefits, the project is destroying value, even if the levered NPV is positive. The firm always could benefit from the tax shield of debt by borrowing money and putting it to other uses such as stock buybacks. Investopedia uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience.

By using Investopedia, you accept our. Your Money. Personal Finance. Financial Advice. Popular Courses. Login Advisor Login Newsletters. Fundamental Analysis Tools for Fundamental Analysis. The equation for a company's levered beta is as follows:. Compare Investment Accounts. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. If you are calculating the cost of capital for a new investment project, it is essential to also adjust the risks according to the project in question.

Finally, you also need to keep in mind the limitations of WACC. It is crucial to remember the elements used in the formula are not consistent. These subtle differences can be apparent in the basic calculations of how the company calculates its debt as well as its equity.


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The final ratio you receive with WACC should therefore not be taken as the ultimate truth. Instead, you want to use the cost of capital as an important indicator, but also add other financial metrics to your analysis and decision-making process. This is also an important point to remember if you are considering investing in a company.

The more you know about the financial status of the company to better. While the cost of capital needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and tough analysis, it is nonetheless an essential metric to learn about. E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another. You entered an incorrect username or password.

How to Calculate the Cost of Capital for Your Business

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Cost of capital gearing and CAPM | ACCA Qualification | Students | ACCA Global

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