To further examine risk in the capital structure, two additional measures of risk found in capital budgeting:

1. Business Risk


A company's business risk is the risk of the firm's assets when no debt is used. Business risk is the risk inherent in the company's operations. As a result, there are many factors that can affect business risk: the more volatile these factors, the riskier the company. Some of those factors are as follows:
  • Sales risk - Sales risk is affected by demand for the company's product as well as the price per unit of the product.
  • Input-cost risk - Input-cost risk is the volatility of the inputs into a company's product as well as the company's ability to change pricing if input costs change.
As an example, let's compare a utility company with a retail apparel company. A utility company generally has more stability in earnings. The company has les risk in its business given its stable revenue stream. However, a retail apparel company has the potential for a bit more variability in its earnings. Since the sales of a retail apparel company are driven primarily by trends in the fashion industry, the business risk of a retail apparel company is much higher. Thus, a retail apparel company would have a lower optimal debt ratio so that investors feel comfortable with the company's ability to meet its responsibilities with the capital structure in both good times and bad.

2. Financial Risk
A company's financial risk, however, takes into account a company's leverage. If a company has a high amount of leverage, the financial risk to stockholders is high - meaning if a company cannot cover its debt and enters bankruptcy, the risk to stockholders not getting satisfied monetarily is high.

Let's use the troubled airline industry as an example. The average leverage for the industry is quite high (for some airlines, over 100%) given the issues the industry has faced over the past few years. Given the high leverage of the industry, there is extreme financial risk that one or more of the airlines will face an imminent bankruptcy.

Effect of Changes in Sales or Earnings on EBIT
Differing amounts of debt financing cause changes in EPS and thus a company's stock price. The calculations for EBIT and EPS are as follows:

Formula 11.16

EBIT = sales - variable costs - fixed costs
EPS = [(EBIT - interest)*(1-tax rate)] / shares outstanding
This LOS is best explained by the use of an example.

Example:
The following is Newco's cost of debt at various capital structures. Newco has $1 million in total assets and a tax rate of 40%. Assume that, at a debt level of zero, Newco has 20,000 shares outstanding.

Figure 11.10: Newco's cost of debt at various capital structures


 

In addition, Newco has annual sales of $5 million, variable costs are 40% of sales and fixed costs are equal to $2.4 million. At each level of debt, determine Newco's EPS.

Answer:
At debt level 0%:
Shares outstanding are 20,000 and interest costs are 0.
EPS = [($5,000,000 - 2,000,000 - 2,400,000-0)*(1-0.4)]/20,000
EPS = $18 per share

At debt level 20%:
Shares outstanding are 16,000 [20,000*(1-20%)] and interest costs are 8,000 (200,000*0.04).
EPS = [($5,000,000 - 2,000,000 - 2,400,000-8,000)*(1-0.4)]/16,000
EPS = $22.20 per share

At debt level 40%:
Shares outstanding are 12,000 [20,000*(1-40%)] and interest costs are 24,000 (400,000*0.06).
EPS = [($5,000,000 - 2,000,000 - 2,400,000-24,000)*(1-0.4)]/12,000
EPS = $28.80 per share

At debt level 60%:
Shares outstanding are 8,000 [20,000*(1-60%)] and interest costs are 48,000 (600,000*0.08).
EPS = [($5,000,000 - 2,000,000 - 2,400,000-48,000)* (1-0.4)]/8,000
EPS= $41.40 per share

At debt level 80%:
Shares outstanding are 4,000 [20,000*(1-80%)] and interest costs are 80,000 (800,000*0.10).
EPS = [($5,000,000 - 2,000,000 - 2,400,000-80,000)* (1-0.4)]/4,000
EPS = $78.00 per share

With each increase in debt level (accompanied with the decrease in shares outstanding), Newco's earnings per share increases.

Operating Leverage and its Effects on a Project's Expected Rate of Return

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Target Corp: WACC Analysis (TGT)

    Learn about the importance of capital structure when making investment decisions, and how Target's capital structure compares against the rest of the industry.
  2. Personal Finance

    Risk Management Framework (RMF): An Overview

    A company must identify the type of risks it is taking, as well as measure, report on, and set systems in place to manage and limit, those risks.
  3. Investing

    Evaluating a Company's Capital Structure

    Learn to use the composition of debt and equity to evaluate balance sheet strength.
  4. Insights

    The National Debt Explained

    We know it's growing, but we don't know exactly how. An in-depth look why the U.S. Government's debt continues to balloon and what it all means for you.
  5. Small Business

    Financial Leverage In Corporate Capital Structure

    Corporate management uses financial leverage to increase earnings per share and return-on-equity.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is the difference between secured and unsecured debts?

    The differences between secured and unsecured debt, and how banks buffer risks associated with each type of loan through ...
  2. How Many Times has Warren Buffett Been Married?

    Warren Buffett has been married twice in his life, but the circumstances surrounding the marriages were unconventional.
  3. What's the smallest number of shares of stock that I can buy?

    Many people would say the smallest number of shares an investor can purchase is one, but the real answer is not as straightforward. ...
  4. What is an economic moat?

    An economic moat refers to a company's ability to maintain competitive advantages to protect its long-term profits and market ...
Trading Center