Unlevered Cost of Capital: Definition, Formula and Example Calculation

Unlevered cost of capital is an analysis using either a hypothetical or an actual debt-free scenario to measure a company’s cost to implement a particular capital project. Unlevered cost of capital compares the cost of capital of the project using zero debt as an alternative to a levered cost of capital investment.

A company’s unlevered cost of equity does not necessitate any actual cash payments, in contrast to advertising or other costs. If the company had no debt or leverage, this cost represents the yearly percentage return that investors would need to own the company’s stock. Analysts estimate a company’s value using the unlevered cost of equity, but the number also offers insight into how the market perceives a stock’s risk. Companies with a higher unlevered cost of equity are typically thought to be riskier than other companies because investors want a higher potential reward for a higher level of risk.

Download a company’s Form 10-K annual report from the investor relations section of its website or from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before calculating the unlevered cost of equity. S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s online EDGAR database. Find the companys corporate tax rate in the annual report. Find the amount of total liabilities on its balance sheet.

Replace the data in the formula B/[1 + (1 – T)(D/E)], where B stands for beta, T for the tax rate in decimal form, D for total liabilities, and E for market capitalization. Assume, for instance, that a business has a beta of zero, a market capitalization of $4 billion, a tax rate of 35 percent, and $1 billion in total liabilities. 9. The formula is 0. 9/[1 + (1 – 0. 35)($1 billion/$4 billion)].

MBA FIN13 3 WACC – Levered and Unlevered Beta

Why is unlevered cost of capital important?

Unlevered cost of capital is significant because figuring out its value can assist you in estimating how much it would cost your business to fund a capital project on its own, without taking on any debt. Additionally, you can assess a company’s general performance using the value of its unlevered cost of capital. This can assist you in determining crucial financial decisions and assessing the company’s financial health. It can also assist you in evaluating an investment’s soundness, which is important for a company’s financial stability.

What is unlevered cost of capital?

Unlevered cost of capital is a hypothetical number that businesses use. The cost of a company financing a capital project without taking on debt is represented by the value of unlevered cost of capital. Generally, businesses with higher unlevered cost of capital values are riskier than those with lower values, and vice versa. Understanding how to compute and interpret these values can assist you in determining a company’s financial health and the soundness of investment decisions.

Unlevered cost of capital formula

To determine unlevered cost of capital, use a formula. You only need to use simple addition and multiplication to solve the formula. The unlevered cost of capital formula is:

Risk-free rate + unlevered beta x market risk premium = unlevered cost of capital

It’s crucial to comprehend the various formula factors in order to use the unlevered cost of capital formula. Important terms to understand are:

To solve the formula, plug in your values. Make sure to finish the multiplication part of the formula first, and then add that value to the risk-free rate value in accordance with the mathematical order of operations. The resulting value is the unlevered cost of capital.

Unlevered cost of capital calculation example

At Kaysville Investments, a financial analyst wants to determine the firm’s unlevered cost of capital. The financial analyst is aware that they must employ the following unlevered cost of capital calculation formula:

Risk-free rate + unlevered beta x market risk premium = unlevered cost of capital

The financial analyst looks through their company’s financial statements to find the values they need to enter into the formula to start solving it. The following values are discovered by the financial analyst for the formula’s variables:

The financial analyst first notes the variables and values before entering the company’s information into the formula. They start by completing the formula’s multiplication section by multiplying 0 9 by 0. 11. Then, they finish the formula’s addition step by adding 0. 35 and 0. 099 together.

Unlevered cost of capital = 0.35 + 0.9 x 0.11

Unlevered cost of capital = 0.35 + 0.099

Unlevered cost of capital = 0.449

The financial analyst determines that the value of the company’s unlevered cost of capital is zero by applying the formula to the company’s data. 449, or 44. 9%.

Tips for using unlevered cost of capital

Here are some pointers to help you effectively utilize the unlevered cost of capital formula:

Review your companys financial statements

Examining your company’s financial statements is a crucial step in using the unlevered cost of capital. By carefully reading financial statements, you can locate the details you need to finish the formula. To ensure that you copied the right values, you can also double-check the financial statements.

Use a calculator

Use a calculator as another advice for applying the unlevered cost of capital formula. The formula only requires basic multiplication and addition, but since these values frequently contain decimals and percentages, using a calculator can make the formula’s solution simpler. To keep track of your variables, it can also be useful to write down their corresponding values on a piece of scrap paper. You can check your response mathematically after formula solving to make sure your unlevered cost of capital value is correct.

Use online templates and examples

Online templates and examples can be helpful when learning how to use the unlevered cost of capital formula for the first time. To keep yourself organized as you enter data and solve the formula, you can plug your company’s information into a template for an unlevered cost of capital formula. To better understand how to apply and interpret the unlevered cost of capital formula with the data from your company, you can read through real-world examples.


Is unlevered cost of capital the same as WACC?

When conducting the analysis, the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) assumes the company’s current capital structure, whereas the unlevered cost of capital assumes the company is fully funded by equity.

What is the difference between levered and unlevered equity?

The debt-to-equity ratio, also known as the leverage ratio, is frequently used to determine a company’s capital structure. An unlevered firm is one that has no debt; a levered firm is one that has debt in its capital structure.

What is unlevered beta in WACC?

Unlevering the Beta The unlevered weighted average cost is essentially the unlevered beta. Without using debt or leverage, the average cost would be as follows. Unlevering the beta is required to account for companies with various debt and capital structures. The cost of equity is then calculated using that figure.

How do you find the unlevered value of a firm?

In an unlevered firm, the value of the equity is equal to the firm’s value. [(pre-tax earnings)(1-corporate tax rate)] / the necessary rate of return is the formula to determine the value of an unlevered firm.

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