Fixed Capital

DEFINITION of 'Fixed Capital'

Assets or capital investments that are needed to start up and conduct business, even at a minimal stage. These assets are considered fixed in that they are not used up in the actual production of a good or service, but have a reusable value. Fixed-capital investments are typically depreciated on the company's accounting statements over a long period of time, up to 20 years or more.

Examples include factories, office buildings, computer servers, insurance policies, legal contracts and manufacturing equipment – anything that is not continually purchased in the course of production of a good or service.

BREAKING DOWN 'Fixed Capital'

The amount of fixed capital needed to set up a business is quite variable, especially from industry to industry. Some lines of business, by their nature, require high fixed-capital investment. Common examples would include industrial manufacturers, telecommunications providers and oil exploration firms.

Fixed-capital investments typically don't depreciate in the even way that is shown on income statements. Some devalue quite quickly, while others have nearly infinite "usable" lives. But the depreciation method allows investors to see a rough estimate of how much value fixed-capital investments are contributing to the current performance of the company.

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