WACC

WACC stands for the weighted average cost of capital. It represents the rate of return a company must make on the money it has invested to stop investors putting their money elsewhere.

WACC stands for the weighted average cost of capital. It represents the rate of return a company must make on the money it has invested to stop investors putting their money elsewhere. In short, it is the company's cost of money.

To calculate it, you take the weighted average of the cost of borrowing money from banks or bondholders (debt) and shareholders (equity). The cost of debt is the interest rate charged by borrowers, less the company's tax rate (because interest charges reduce a company's taxable profits).

However, equity costs more than debt, because shareholders get paid last and so need to be paid more to reflect this. Exactly how much extra is subject to a lot of debate, and there is no right answer. It is affected both by how risky the underlying business is and how indebted it is.

Say a business is half-funded by debt at 5% and half-funded by equity at 10%. Its WACC will be (0.5x5%) + (0.5x10%) = 7.5%. WACC can be a better way to measure the ability of company managers than earnings per share (EPS). When interest rates are low, managers can boost EPS by funding the company with more debt, but may not earn a high enough return to compensate shareholders for the risks

Recommended

Modern monetary theory (MMT)
Glossary

Modern monetary theory (MMT)

Modern Monetary theory, or MMT, has become popular on the left, both in the UK and abroad. (Wags say that it stands for "magic money tree".) 
21 Sep 2020
Price to sales ratio
Glossary

Price to sales ratio

A company's market cap divided by the company's annual sales (or revenue) gives us the price/sales ratio.
28 Aug 2020
Too embarrassed to ask: what is a p/e ratio?
Too embarrassed to ask

Too embarrassed to ask: what is a p/e ratio?

Find out how to use the price/earnings ratio (p/e ratio for short) – a useful starting place for investors looking to value a company.
26 Aug 2020
Stock split
Glossary

Stock split

A stock split increases the number of a corporation's issued shares by dividing each existing share.
21 Aug 2020

Most Popular

The next 20 years: five new technologies on the horizon
Global Economy

The next 20 years: five new technologies on the horizon

What will everyday life be like in two decades’ time? Matthew Partridge peers into his crystal ball.
12 Nov 2020
This week’s rally in value stocks is just the beginning
Value investing

This week’s rally in value stocks is just the beginning

The arrival of a vaccine this week saw huge gains in the markets and investors switching out of big-tech growth stocks and into “value” stocks in more…
13 Nov 2020
Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
13 Nov 2020