Understanding hewlett packard's weighted average cost of capital

Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) is a financial metric that represents the average after-tax cost of capital from all sources for a company, including common stock, preferred stock, bonds, and other forms of debt. It is a crucial measure that helps in determining the required rate of return for a company and plays a significant role in financial decision-making.

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What is WACC and Why is it Important?

WACC is a commonly used metric to determine the hurdle rate or the minimum rate of return that a company needs to generate in order to attract capital from investors. By calculating the WACC, a company can evaluate the desirability of a project or acquisition and make informed financial decisions.

For investors, WACC is an essential tool to assess a company's potential for profitability. A lower WACC indicates a healthy business that can attract money from investors at a lower cost. On the other hand, a higher WACC is usually associated with businesses that are seen as riskier and need to offer higher returns to compensate investors.

Calculating WACC

WACC is calculated by multiplying the cost of each capital source (debt and equity) by its relevant weight and then adding those results together. The formula for WACC is:

WACC = (E/V * Re) + (D/V * Rd * (1 - Tc))

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  • E : Market value of the firm's equity
  • D : Market value of the firm's debt
  • V : E + D (Total market value of the firm's capital)
  • Re : Cost of equity
  • Rd : Cost of debt
  • Tc : Corporate tax rate

The formula involves two terms: the weighted value of equity capital and the weighted value of debt capital. The proportions of equity-based financing (E/V) and debt-based financing (D/V) are used to calculate these values.

It's important to note that the cost of equity (Re) is determined based on the expected return that investors demand, considering the expected volatility of the stock. The cost of debt (Rd) is relatively easier to calculate, often by averaging the yield to maturity for a company's outstanding debts.

Limitations of WACC

While WACC is a valuable metric, it does have some limitations. Calculating WACC can be complex, especially for companies with multiple types of debt and various interest rates. Additionally, the accuracy of WACC can be affected by various market and economic conditions, such as interest rates and tax rates.

Moreover, the formula for WACC relies on certain elements, such as the cost of equity, which may not have consistent values and can be reported differently by different parties. Therefore, it is always recommended to use WACC in conjunction with other financial metrics when making investment decisions.

What is a Good WACC for a Company?

The ideal WACC for a company varies depending on factors such as its capital structure, industry, and whether it is an established business or a startup. Comparing a company's WACC to the average for its industry or sector can provide some insights. For example, in June 2023, the average WACC for companies in the consumer staples sector was 4%, while it was 14% in the information technology sector.

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Hewlett Packard's Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) is an important financial metric that helps in evaluating the required rate of return for the company and making informed financial decisions. By understanding and calculating WACC, investors and company executives can assess a company's potential for profitability and determine the cost of attracting capital from investors.

However, it is crucial to recognize the limitations of WACC and consider it in conjunction with other financial metrics to make well-informed investment decisions.

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