Weighted Marginal Cost of Capital (WMCC) and Investment Opportunities Schedule

By finding all break points, we can construct the weighted marginal cost of capital – WMCC – schedule. (WMCC) schedules show the relationship between the level of total new financing and a company’s weighted average cost of capital.

Thereafter, we can construct the investment opportunities schedule (IOS), which is a graph where the business’s investment opportunities are ranked based on their returns and financing required, arranged from the highest returns and all the way to the lowest returns. It is the decreasing function of the level of total financing.

If we combine the weighted marginal cost of capital (WMCC) schedule and investment opportunities schedule (IOS), we can use it to make investment decisions. The rule is to invest in projects up to the point on the graph where marginal return from investment equals its WMCC (where IOS=WMCC).

All projects on the left of the point where IOS=WMCC will maximize shareholders wealth and all points on the right of the point where IOS=WMCC will decrease shareholders’ wealth.

It is important to note that the majority of firms stop investing before the marginal return from investment equals its weighted marginal cost of capital (WMCC). Therefore, the majority of businesses prefer a capital rationing position (the position below the optimal investment budget, which is also called the optimal capital budget).

Test yourself


ABC Company has to make an investment of $1,000,000. The long-term debt weight in the capital structure is 35%. ABC has $700,000 of retained earnings but 50% of it must be paid to common stock shareholders in the form of dividends. Preferred stock is currently not used as a source of finance by ABC.

What are the weights that ABC will have for each source of capital?

SOLUTION:

Firstly, we need to find out how much of retained earnings ABC has left after payment of dividends to shareholders: $700,000*0.5=$350,000.

Therefore, the weight of retained earnings is 35% ($350,000 out of $1,000,000).

$1,000,000-$350,000 (35%, funds available from long-term debt source) – $350,000 (35%, funds available from retained earnings) = $300,000 (30%)

Therefore, the weights are as follows:

Long-term debt – 40%

Retained earnings – 35%

Common stock – 30%

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Weighted Marginal Cost of Capital (WMCC)

Weighted Marginal Cost of Capital – WMCC – is the WACC applicable to the next dollar of the total new financing. Related to the concept is the break point concept. Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) may change over time due to changes in the volume of financing. This occurs as the volume of financing increases, the risk increases and providers of funds require higher return on the funds that they make available.

The WACC of the next dollar of the total financing may be different from the WACC of the last dollar of the total financing.

Related articles: Break Point, Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

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(WACC) Weighted average cost of capital (ra)

Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) (ra) is a very simple concept. Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) refers to the weighted cost of both debt and equity financing, according to the firm’s specific optimal mix of financing (debt and equity). Knowing the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) enables better decision making about proposed projects.

The formula for weighted average cost of capital (WACC) (ra) is as follows:

WACC=(wd*rd)+(we*re)+(ws*rn or rr)

Where:

wd = a weight for the long-term debt

we = a weight for the preferred stock

we = a weight for the common stock

rd = the cost of long-term debt

re = the cost of preferred stock

rn = the cost of new common stock

rr = the cost of retained earnings

All sources of capital and their weights must be taken into account.

Example


Project Omega was proposed with an expected return of 9% and the firm’s cost of capital for debt financing is 7% and cost of capital for equity financing is 12%. Further, the optimal mix of debt and equity of the firm is 40 percent of debt and 60 percent of equity. Then, the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is calculated as follows:

weighted average cost of capital (WACC) = 7% * 0.40 + 12% * 0.60

2.8 + 7.2 = 10%

The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is 10%.

Given the information above, the proposed project with expected return of 9% should be rejected as it is below the firm’s 10% weighted average cost of capital (WACC).

When making investment decisions, business must only choose projects that bring returns higher than the weighted average cost of capital (WACC).

Test yourself


Company ABC has the following sources of capital:

Long-term debt at 7% after-tax cost with weight of 35% in the capital structure.

Preferred stock at 9% after-tax cost with weight of 10% in the capital structure.

Common stock at 14% after-tax cost with weight of 55% in the capital structure.

REQUIRED: Find the weighted average cost of capital (WACC).

SOLUTION:

weighted average cost of capital (WACC) =7%*.35+9%*.10+14%*.55

WACC=2.45+.9+7.7

WACC=11.05%

Calculating weights


As per above, to calculate the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) we need to know the weight of each source of financing. When calculating weights, market values or book values can be used. Market values evaluate the proportion of capital at the market value and book values evaluate the proportion of capital at the book (accounting) value. It is better to use market values, as it is a more realistic value.

Further, when calculating weights, we can use either target or historical proportions. Target proportions refer to the optimal capital mix that a business would like to achieve. Historical proportion refers to the proportion based on the past. The target proportion is preferred.

***

Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is a VERY important concept to understand. It is one of the central concepts in business and finance. The basic idea of weighted average cost of capital (WACC) concept is that it shows us the expected average cost of funds in the long-term. Make sure you are comfortable with explanations and calculations of the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) before progressing to the next section.

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Finding the after-tax cost of retained earnings (rr)

The cost of retained earnings is the same as the cost of new common stock less flotation costs. Therefore, it is cheaper for businesses to use retained earnings compared to issuing new common stock.

Retained earnings are already earnings after-tax. Therefore, no tax adjustment is required when calculating the cost of retained earnings.

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Using CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model)

In addition to Gordon Model, another way to find the cost of common stock is by using Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). CAPM allows us to ascertain the relationship between required return and non-diversifiable risk, which is measured by the beta coefficient (b).

Beta coefficient (b) refers to the index that measures non-diversifiable risk (risk which a company cannot eliminate through diversification). It indicates how an asset’s return will react to the changes in the market return, which in turn shows the return on a portfolio of all securities in the market.

Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) is simple, as long as you know the formula and have the information necessary for the formula. The formula is as follows:

rs= Rf+(b*(rm-Rf))

Where:

rs – required return (return on a portfolio or a security)

Rf – risk free rate (e.g. rate on the U.S. Treasury bill)

b – beta coefficient

rm – market return

EXAMPLE:

If Rf (risk free rate) is 5%, beta is 2 and market return (rm) is 12%, the rs (required return or cost of common stock) can be found as follows:

Rs=5%+(2*(12%-5%)

Rs=19%

Test yourself

Assuming we know that beta (company’s market risk coefficient) is 2, market return is 13%, risk free rate of return is 7%, current dividend is $4 and dividend growth over the past 5 years is 5% and the same growth is expected in the future. With CAPM, find the price of the ordinary share.

SOLUTION:

First, using CAPM, we find rs:

rs= Rf+(b*(rm-Rf))

rs=7+(2*(13-7))

rs=19%

Next, we use the Gordon model (P0=D1/(rs-g)) to find the price of the ordinary share:

Po=(4*(1+.05))/(.19-.05)

Po=4.2/0.14

Po=$30

Test yourself:

ABC’s financial manager prepared the following information. The dividend which were paid in the current year was $5. The growth of dividends over the last 5 years were 7% and the same growth of dividends is expected to be in the future. Risk free rate is 8%, market rate is 14% and beta coefficient is 2.

Required: What is the market price of ABC’s ordinary shares?

Solution:

Firstly we need to find required return (rs) with the help of the capital asset pricing model (CAPM).

rs= Rf+(b*(rm-Rf))

rs=8+(2*(14-8))

rs=20

Next, we need to use Gordon model:

Po=D1/(rs-g)

Po=5*(1+0.07)/(0.20-0.07)

Po=5.35/0.13

Po=41.15

The price of the ABC’s ordinary share is $41.15. Note that we determined D1 (dividend within the next period) by taking known D0 (last dividend) and multiplying it by (1+ growth rate).

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Gordon model (Constant-Growth Valuation Model)

The Gordon model is one of the models used in dividend valuation. It is very simple, as long as one knows the formula, which is:

P0=D1/(rs-g)

Also sometimes presented as: P = D/(k-g)

Where:

P0 or P – price of the stock

D1 or D – per share dividend expected at the end of year 1 (at the end of the next financial period)

rs or k – required return for equity investor

g – constant growth rate (expected annual growth of dividends)

Gordon model is usually used for mature companies only since it is assumed that annual growth of dividends remains constant.

It is very important to note that if you are only given the current per share dividend (D0, per share dividend received in this financial period), then you will need to adjust it for the next financial period before you can use it in the Gordon model. To do this you will need to take the current dividend and multiply it by (1 + g). The calculation is as follows:

D1=D0*(1+g)

The original equation of the Gordon model (P0=D1/(rs-g)) calculates the price of the share. However, you are looking for the cost of common stock. Therefore, you need to rearrange equation of the Gordon model as follows:

rs = (D1/Po) + g

Now you just plug in the numbers into the adjusted Gordon equation and you will be able to obtain the cost of common stock. Because common stock is paid out of the after-tax earnings, the tax adjustment is irrelevant.

Sometimes it is necessary to find the growth rate (g) first, before you can calculate the cost of the common stock (rs) with the help of the Gordon model. To do so, you need to find out what was the per share dividends applicable to common stock over the last few years (this information will be given). After obtaining this information, you can calculate the growth rate.

It is best to explain this with an example.

EXAMPLE 1:

Calculating the growth rate, which is necessary for usage of the Gordon model:

The information given below is on per share dividends applicable to common stock over the last few years. You need to find the growth rate of dividends over the given period.

Per share dividends from 2005-2010:

2010 – $4

2009 – $3.96

2008 – $3.76

2007 – $3.27

2006 – $3.25

2005 – $3

Now, by using a financial calculator, you can calculate the growth rate as follows:

PV = -3 (per share dividend in 2005, the first year from which per share dividend information is available)

FV = 4 (per share dividend in 2010, the per share dividend in the current period)

N = 5 (number of periods over which growth occurred)

Find I = it will be 5.92% (this number represents growth of dividends over the given period)

EXAMPLE 2:

Using the growth rate (found above) in the Gordon model:

Now, if we know that the growth of the dividends is expected to be the same into the future and the price of the stock is $55, we can compute the cost of common stock (rs) as follows:

rs=(4*(1+0.0592)/55)+0.0592

rs=0.0770+0.0592

rs=0.1362=0.14%

The cost of common stock also represents the return that investors expect to earn from their shares. If the actual return is less – investors will sell their stock.

Test yourself

The ordinary share is currently sold for $40 each. The growth of shares was 10% over the last 5 years and is expected to be the same in the future. A dividend of $3.5 dollars was paid to shareholders in the current period.

REQUIRED: What is the cost of an ordinary share?

SOLUTION:

We need to use the adjusted Gordon model. In other words, we need to use the formula: rs = (D1/Po) + g

Rs=(3.5*(1+.1)/40) +.1

Rs=(3.85/40) +.1

Rs=19.63%

Note that the dividend is adjusted for growth in the next period by multiplying the current dividend by (1+g).

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Finding the specific after-tax cost of common stock (rp)

Our next concern is to find the after-tax cost of common stock, after attending to finding the after-tax cost of long-term debt and after-tax cost of preferred stock.

Common stock


Common stock, which is also called common shares or ordinary shares, refers to the category of ownership of the enterprise. Common shares generally have voting rights and better potential for appreciation of shares compared to preferred stock.

However, holders of common stock generally do not have fixed dividends and cannot receive dividends until dividends are paid out to preferred stock holders. Moreover, in case of liquidation, holders of common stock only have claim on company’s assets if claims of all creditors as well as holders of preferred stock are satisfied. Therefore, common stock is more risky than preferred stock.

Cost of common stock (rp)

To determine the specific after-tax costs of common stock (rp), you can use two techniques: Gordon model or the CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model)

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Finding the after-tax cost of preferred stock (rp)

After discussing the cost of long-term debt, we must now find the cost of preferred stock (after-tax). Preferred stock, which is also called preferred shares or preference shares, refers to the category of ownership that has preferential claim on earnings and assets of the firm, compared to common stock ownership.

The preferential claim is generally manifested in the fact that dividends cannot be distributed to common stockholders until it is distributed to holders of preferred stock first. Further, in case of liquidation, holders of the preferred stock also have preferential claim on assets of the firm, compared to the holders of common stock.

Preferred stock is a hybrid instrument as it has characteristics of both debt and equity. The drawback of preferred shares, compared to the common stock, is lower potential for appreciation of shares as well as absence of voting rights.

Calculating the cost of preferred stock


To calculate the specific after-tax cost-of-preferred-stock all we need to do is to take the preferred stock dividend and divide it by the net proceeds from the sale of the preferred stock (funds received minus flotation cost).

Cost-of-preferred-stock (rp) = Preferred stock dividend/(Funds received – Flotation costs)

Because preferred stock is paid out of the after-tax earnings, the cost-of-preferred-stock is already after-tax.

EXAMPLE:

If Company A issued 9% preferred stock at $100 and the flotation cost is $8, then the calculation will be as follows:

rp = 100*9%/100-8

rp =9/92

rp =9.8%

Test yourself


A corporation is issuing 10% preferred stock that should be sold for $15 each. The business will incur flotation costs of $2 per share.

REQUIRED: What is the cost-of-preferred-stock?

SOLUTION:

10%*15/15-2

1.5/13

The answer is 11.54%

Note: If you struggle with a calculation, read using a financial calculator article for some simple tips on using a financial calculator.

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Cost of long term debt

The first long term source of finance that we consider is the cost of long term debt, which is usually the cheapest of the long-term sources of finance. The majority of long term debt of large corporations is the result of issuing bonds.

Flotation cost


Companies that issue bonds have to take into account the flotation cost, which is the complete cost the company has to incur to issue and sell a security, such as common stock, preferred stock and bonds. This cost reduces the company’s net proceeds from issuing security.

Flotation cost consists of underwriting and administrative costs. Underwriting costs are payment to investment bankers for their services and administrative costs are costs other than the underwriting costs of issuing bonds.

Finding the before-tax cost of long-term debt (rd)


To find the after-tax cost of long term debt, we first need to find the before-tax cost of long term debt (rd). As mentioned above, the majority of long term debts of large corporations are the result of issuing bonds. By using a financial calculator, we can find the before tax cost of a bond (cost of long-term debt).

THE CALCULATION FOLLOWS:

FV – (future value of the bond which refers to its par value, which is also called the face value, and is usually $1,000)

PV – the value of the bond today at which it is sold (after deducting the flotation cost)

PMT – payment on the bond (for example, at 8% coupon interest rate a bond issuer will have to make annual payments of $80 if the par value is $1,000). Payments can also be made more frequently, such as semi-annually or even monthly, but in such a case we need to adjust the amount of payment and number of periods.

For example, if payment is made semi-annually, we will need to divide $80 by 2 and we will need to multiply number of periods by 2.

N – Number of periods

Calculate I – the cost of the bond (for the bond’s issuer it is the cost to maturity of the cash flows, for the bond’s holders it is the return they earn on buying and holding this bond to maturity). Within the context of our discussion, it is also the before-tax cost of long-term debt.

Note that if the net proceeds from the sale of the bond is the same as the face value of the bond than the before-tax cost of long-term debt will be equal to the coupon interest rate. For example, at 8% coupon interest rate, the par value of $1,000 and net proceeds of $1,000 (no flotation costs), the before-tax cost of long-term debt will equal 8%.

Finding the after-tax cost of long-term debt


After we found the before-tax cost of long term debt, we need to find the after-tax cost of long term debt. To do so all we need to do is to multiply the before-tax cost of long-term debt by (1-T), where T stands for the tax rate.

THEREFORE:

ri = rd * (1-T)

EXAMPLE:

If the before-tax cost of long term debt is 10% and tax rate is 28% then the calculation will be as follows:

Ri =10% * (1-.28)

Ri =10% * .72

Ri = 7.2%

Test yourself


You need to calculate the after-tax cost of a 30-year bond. The coupon interest rate is 10%, the par value is $1,000 and the bond is currently selling at $950.

SOLUTION:

PV: -950

FV: 1,000

PMT: 100

N: 30

I: 10.56%

Note: If you struggle with a calculation, read using a financial calculator article for some simple tips on using a financial calculator.

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Long term sources of finance

Here we will focus only on the long term sources of finance because only long-term sources provide permanent financing. Long-term sources of finance (also called long-term sources of capital) refer to long-term debt and equity on the balance sheet. They include long-term debt, preferred stock and common stock equity, which in turn include issues of new common stock and retained earnings.

Permanent financing generally refers to financing long-term fixed assets, such as machinery or factory. If the pay-off from the asset is over the long-term period (longer than 1 year), the long-term sources of finance should be used to ensure it is less risky to finance such assets. For example, if long-term debt (one of the long-term sources of finance) rather than short-term debt is used, business can be more certain money will be available to cover obligations as they come due.

While focusing on the long-term sources of finance, we will need to focus on the specific cost of finance. We will need to obtain the specific cost of each of the long-term sources of finance, which refers to the after-tax cost of using each of the sources today.

Read related article: Cost of Long Term Debt 

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