Stock splits and reverse stock splits

Organizations undertake stock splits when it is perceived within the firm that shares of the company are traded at a too high price and this may slow down trading activity. If a stock split is undertaken, the market value of shares can slightly increase. Such increase tends to be maintained as long as dividends after the split also increase.

If a firm undertakes a 2 for 1 split than 2 new shares will be given in exchange for every 1 old share. The stock split does not affect the organizational capital structure.

Organizations can also do reverse stock splits when firm wants to increase the share price. Increase in share price may help to enhance trading of a shares activity. This occurs because unsophisticated investors tend to equate low priced stocks to low quality investments.

If firm undertakes a 1 for 2 split, one new share will be exchanged for 2 old shares.

(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.

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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 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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EBIT-EPS Capital Structure Approach

The EBIT-EPS capital structure approach focuses on finding a capital structure with the highest EPS (earnings per share) over the expected range of EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes).

The reason why we are interested in finding a capital structure which will permit maximization of the EPS over the expected range of EBIT is because it partially helps us to achieve the ultimate objective of the enterprise. The ultimate objective of the enterprise is to maximize shareholders’ wealth by maximizing its stock price. Two key variables that affect stock price are return (earnings attributed to owners of the enterprise) and risk (which can be measured by required return (rs)). This approach explicitly considers maximization of returns (EPS). However, it is important to note that this approach ignores risk (does not explicitly consider risk).

Major shortcoming of the EBIT-EPS approach


The fact that this approach fails to explicitly consider risk is the major shortcoming of this method. As firm obtains more debt (its financial leverage increases), the risk also increases and shareholders will require higher returns to compensate for the increased financial risk. Therefore, this approach is not completely appropriate because it does not consider one of the key variables (risk), which is necessary for maximization of shareholders’ wealth.

Considering financial risk


As per above, the approach does not explicitly consider financial risk. However, when utilizing the approach, financial risk can be considered in two ways:

1) The approach measures financial risk by the financial breakeven point. The higher the breakeven point the greater the financial risk.

2) The approach also measures the financial risk by the slope of the capital structure line. The steeper the capital structure line the greater the financial risk.

EBIT-EPS graph


It is a graphical approach. EPS is plotted on the vertical axis (x-axis) and EBIT on the horizontal axis (y-axis). By connecting the coordinates for different capital structures (different variations of equity versus debt), capital structure lines for each capital structure are graphed.

We will need to represent EBIT-EPS coordinates (capital structure lines) for different capital structures to ascertain at which levels of EBIT which capital structure is preferred. This will allow us to find a capital structure with the highest EPS over the expected range of EBIT.

For the purposes of this article it is sufficient to mention that to find EBIT-EPS coordinates we can assume particular EBIT values (and associated earnings available for common stockholders values) and calculate EPS in line with such values for different capital structures.

The formula to calculate EPS is as follows:

EPS = Earnings Available for Common Stockholders/ Number of Shares of Common Stock Outstanding Another easy way to find one of the EBIT-EPS coordinates is to use the financial breakeven point calculation. Financial break-even point occurs at the level of EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) at which EPS (earnings per share) equals zero. At this level of EBIT all fixed financial costs are covered. The formula for calculation of the financial break-even point is as follows:

Financial break-even point = I + PSD/1-T

Where:

I – interest charges

PSD – preferred stock dividends

T – tax rate

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This capital structure approach does NOT allow us to determine the point where weighted average cost of capital is at a minimum and where stock price is at a maximum (where wealth of the owners of the firm is maximized). The approach focuses on maximizing earnings rather than on maximizing wealth. Therefore, although it is helpful to use when analyzing alternative capital structures, the major shortcoming of this approach should be taken into account.

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Optimal capital structure

Theoretically, enterprises should try to maintain a certain optimal capital structure, a perfect mix of financing (debt and equity), which results in the lowest possible weighted average cost of capital. At this combination of debt and equity, the stock price is at the maximum. Therefore, attainment of the optimal structure is in line with the main objective of the business, which is the maximization of wealth of the owners of the business. The optimal structure is also referred to as the target capital structure. However, it is important to note the optimal structure exists only in theory.

Theory does not yet offer a methodology that would allow firms’ financial managers to find the optimal capital structure. However, financial managers can determine the approximate optimal structure range, which is close to what they believe the optimal structure for the firm is.

As per above, an optimal structure maximizes the value of the firm. To find the value of the firm, we can use the following formula:

V=EBIT*(1-T)/ra

Which simplifies into:

V=NOPAT/ra

Where:

V = is the value of the firm

EBIT = is earnings before interest and taxes (see the income statement for how it is calculated)

NOPAT = is the net operating profit after taxes (calculated by formula EBIT*(1-T)/ra)

ra = is the weighted average cost of capital (WACC)

If we assume that NOPAT is consistent, then the value of the firm is affected by WACC (ra, weighted average cost of capital). WACC is affected by both, the cost of debt and equity.

The cost of equity


The cost of equity is higher than the cost of debt and increases as financial leverage increases. This is because equity suppliers will demand higher return for increasing financial risk due to increasing financial leverage.

The cost of debt


The cost of debt initially is relatively low. The major reason for this is due to the fact that interest on debt is tax deductible. This tax deductibility of interest paid on debt is also commonly called the tax shield. However, as debt increases, at certain debt ratio lenders will begin to require higher and higher interest payments from the borrower. This is undertaken in order to compensate for increasing risk due to increasing financial leverage.

There are two other costs of debt that the firm needs to consider:

(1) Debt increases the probability of bankruptcy. This is because lenders can force the firm into bankruptcy if the firm cannot meet its financial obligations to the lender.

(2) Another aspect to consider is the agency cost. This refers to the fact that lenders usually protect themselves from increases in risk of the borrower by imposing different loan provisions, which place constraints on actions and choices of the firm. Such provisions commonly include, but are not limited to, minimum levels of liquidity to be maintained, limits on compensation of the executives and limitations on asset acquisitions.

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As debt increases from a zero point onwards, WACC initially decreases to the theoretical optimal capital structure point. Thereafter, the increasing equity cost and increasing cost of debt causes WACC to start increasing again. Therefore the theoretical optimal capital structure is obtained at the point where the WACC is the lowest.

In other words, the theoretical optimal capital structure occurs at the point where the benefits from using debts are in equilibrium (in balance) with the costs of using debt. The optimal capital structure can also be seen as the balance between risk and return where the firm’s stock price is maximized.