Basic concept[ edit ] For an investment to be worthwhile, the expected return on capital has to be higher than the cost of capital. Given a number of competing investment opportunities, investors are expected to put their capital to work in order to maximize the return. In other words, the cost of capital is the rate of return that capital could be expected to earn in the best alternative investment of equivalent risk; this is the opportunity cost of capital.

Management typically uses this ratio to decide whether the company should use debt or equity to finance new purchases. This ratio is very comprehensive because it averages all sources of capital; including long-term debt, common stock, preferred stock, and bonds; to measure an average cost of borrowing funds.

It is also extremely complex. Figuring out the cost of debt is pretty simple. Bonds and long-term debt are issued with stated interest rates that can be used to compute their overall cost.

Equity, like common and preferred shares, on the other hand, does not have a readily available stated price on it.

Instead, we must compute an equity price before we apply it to the equation. Estimating the cost of equity is based on several different assumptions that can vary between investors. Wow, that was a mouthful. The WACC calculation is pretty complex because there are so many different pieces involved, but there are really only two elements that are confusing: After you have these two numbers figured out calculating WACC is a breeze.

Cost of Equity The cost of equity, represented by Re in the equation, is hard to measure precisely because issuing stock is free to company. It simply issues them to investors for whatever investors are willing to pay for them at any given time. When the market it high, stock prices are high.

When the market is low, stock prices are low. So how to measure the cost of equity? We need to look at how investors buy stocks. They purchase stocks with the expectation of a return on their investment based on the level of risk.

This expectation establishes the required rate of return that the company must pay its investors or the investors will most likely sell their shares and invest in another company. If too many investors sell their shares, the stock price could fall and decrease the value of the company.

I told you this was somewhat confusing. Think of it this way. Cost of Debt Compared with the cost of equity, the cost of debt, represented by Rd in the equation, is fairly simple to calculate.

We simply use the market interest rate or the actual interest rate that the company is currently paying on its obligations. Keep in mind, that interest expenses have additional tax implications. Interest is typically deductible, so we also take into account the amount of tax savings the company will be able to take advantage of by making its interest payments, represented in our equation Rd 1 — Tc So what does all this mean?

To put it simply, the weighted average cost of capital formula helps management evaluate whether the company should finance the purchase of new assets with debt or equity by comparing the cost of both options.A company's weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the average interest rate it must pay to finance its assets, growth and working capital.

Weighted average cost of capital is the discount rate used in calculation of net present value (NPV) and other valuations models such as free cash flow valuation model.

It is the hurdle rate in the capital budgeting decisions. What is 'Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)' Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is a calculation of a firm's cost of capital in which each category of capital is proportionately weighted. The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the average after-tax cost of a company’s various capital sources, including common stock, preferred stock, bonds, and any other long-term debt.

In. What is 'Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)' Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is a calculation of a firm's cost of capital in which each category of capital is proportionately weighted.

Weighted average cost of capital is the discount rate used in calculation of net present value (NPV) and other valuations models such as free cash flow valuation model. It is the hurdle rate in the capital budgeting decisions.

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Cost of capital - Wikipedia