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# Cost of Debt: A Comprehensive Guide for Financial Analysis

July 25, 2024
Bill Kimball

Next, we’ll calculate the interest rate using a slightly more complex formula in Excel. The diligence conducted by the lender used the most recent financial performance and credit metrics of the borrower as of that specific period in the past, as opposed to the current date. Unlock smarter investing with StableBread’s Automated Stock Analysis Spreadsheet.

## How Do Cost of Debt and Cost of Equity Differ?

Similar to the traditional debt rating method, the synthetic debt rating approach assesses a company’s default risk. However, it diverges by using internal financial metrics rather than external credit ratings to deduce a rating. This deduced rating is subsequently used to estimate the cost of debt, providing a structured alternative for determining borrowing costs, especially in situations where direct credit assessments are not possible. Debt and equity capital both provide businesses with the money they need to maintain their day-to-day operations. Equity capital tends to be more expensive for companies and does not have a favorable tax treatment. Too much debt financing, however, can lead to creditworthiness issues and increase the risk of default or bankruptcy.

## Cost of Debt Formula: What It Means and How To Calculate It

In exchange for investing, shareholders get a percentage of ownership in the company, plus returns. The effective interest rate is the weighted average interest rate we just calculated. The cost of debt represents the total amount of interest paid by a company on its outstanding debt. This cost is influenced by the interest rate, which is the percentage of the principal amount that the borrower must pay over a specific period. Interest rates can be fixed (unchanged throughout the loan term) or variable (subject to change based on market conditions). Debt refers to borrowed money that needs to be repaid with interest over time, while equity involves raising funds by selling ownership shares of the business.

## Example of Calculating the Cost of Debt

YTM signifies the total return anticipated by an investor who buys a bond at present and retains it until its maturity. This method is deemed the most precise for determining a company’s current cost of debt, since bond values and their corresponding YTM rates fluctuate daily, effectively mirroring the cost of debt. In this article, I will show you how to calculate and interpret the cost of debt for a company.

## Negotiating with Lenders

The face value of the bond is \$1,000, which is linked with a negative sign placed in front to indicate it is a cash outflow. In our table, we have listed the two cash inflows and outflows from the perspective of the lender, since we’re calculating the YTM from their viewpoint.

## Cost of Debt: A Comprehensive Guide for Financial Analysis

It gives a good idea of the adjusted rate the companies pay and helps them decide whether to use debt or equity funding. Suppose you run a small business and you have two debt vehicles under the enterprise. The first is a loan worth \$250,000 through a major financial institution. The first loan has an interest rate of 5% and the second one has a rate of 4.5%. The current market price of the bond, \$1,025, is then input into the Year 8 cell.

The cost of debt is a key consideration for businesses when assessing different financing options. The cost of debt measure is helpful in understanding the overall rate being paid by a company to use these types of debt financing. The measure can also give investors an idea of the company’s risk level compared to others because riskier companies generally have a higher cost of debt. In the calculation of the weighted average cost of capital (WACC), the formula uses the “after-tax” cost of debt.

This formula is useful because it takes into account fluctuations in the economy, as well as company-specific debt usage and credit rating. If the company has more debt or a low credit rating, then its credit spread will be higher. Using the “IRR” function in Excel, we can calculate the yield-to-maturity (YTM) as 5.6%, which is equivalent to the pre-tax cost of debt. Provided with these figures, we can calculate the interest expense by dividing the annual coupon rate by two (to convert to a semi-annual rate) and then multiplying by the face value of the bond. The YTM refers to the internal rate of return (IRR) of a bond, which is a more accurate approximation of the current, updated interest rate if the company tried to raise debt as of today.

Therefore, the company can determine the risk they take to finance its debts and loans compared with other companies in the market. Cost of debt includes the amount the company borrows with interest required by the creditors or bondholders. Determining the cost of debt helps companies determine the rate of money paid by the company to finance its debt regularly. Debt is a vital component of a company’s capital structure in terms of using various funding sources to fund its operations and keep the business growing. Therefore, companies should understand how much they need to pay for debts to determine if they can pay all costs of debt. When neither the YTM nor the debt-rating approach works, the analyst can estimate a rating for the company.

1. The current market price of the bond, \$1,025, is then input into the Year 8 cell.
2. Equity financing can be raised through the issuance of common shares, preferred stock, or warrants.
3. The interest expense to total debt method offers a straightforward approach for calculating a company’s pre-tax cost of debt.
4. This is calculated by multiplying the pre-tax cost of debt by (1 – tax rate).

Since observable interest rates play a big role in quantifying the cost of debt, it is relatively more straightforward to calculate the cost of debt than the cost of equity. Not only does the cost of debt reflect the default risk of a company, but it also reflects the level of interest rates in the market. In addition, it is an integral part of calculating a company’s Weighted Average Cost of Capital or WACC.

Where the debt is publicly-traded, cost of debt equals the yield to maturity of the debt. If market price of the debt is not available, cost of debt is estimated based on yield on other debts carrying the same bond rating. Debt financing and equity financing are two main methods that businesses use to raise capital. In debt financing, an organization borrows money from lenders, which they promise to pay back along with interest over a given period. In this case, the organization maintains its ownership, and the lenders do not generally have any equity or control in the company.

When obtaining external financing, the issuance of debt is usually considered to be a cheaper source of financing than the issuance of equity. One reason is that debt, such as a corporate bond, has fixed interest payments. The larger the ownership stake of a shareholder in the business, the greater he or she participates in the potential upside of those earnings. Hence, the cost of debt is NOT the nominal interest rate, but rather the yield on the company’s long-term debt instruments.

Using the example, imagine the company issued \$100,000 in bonds at a 5% rate with annual interest payments of \$5,000. It claims this amount as an expense, which lowers the company’s income by \$5,000. As the company pays a 30% tax rate, it saves \$1,500 in taxes by writing off its interest. For example, if a company’s only debt is a bond that it issued with a 5% rate, then its pretax cost of debt is 5%.

To lower your interest rates, and ultimately your cost of debt, work on improving your credit score. This section will explore the impact of credit ratings and interest rates, market conditions, and debt term and structure on the cost of debt. Not only are you paying the principal balance, but you’re also responsible for the interest. You can figure out what the cost of debt is by multiplying the value of your loan by the annual interest rate.

Salesforce is a global leader in customer relationship management (CRM) software, offering cloud-based applications to help businesses connect with their customers. Even though you’re paying your friend \$100 in interest, because of the \$40 in savings, really you’re only paying an additional \$60. To get our total interest, we’ll multiply each loan by its annual interest rate, then add up the results.

When calculating the YTM for a real company, which often has multiple outstanding bonds, the process becomes more involved. It involves a series of steps that include collecting detailed information on each bond issued by the company. The YTM, expressed as a decimal, is 0.1077, which translates to a yield to maturity of ~10.77%. This means if an investor buys the bond for \$950 and holds it until maturity, they can expect an annual return of about 10.77% (pre-tax).

It’s crucial to choose the options that are most suitable for your staff, shareholders, and existing clientele. Cost of debt is repaid monthly through interest payments, while cost of equity is repaid through returns, such as dividends. In other words, cost of debt is the total cost of the interest you pay on all your loans. On the other hand, equity financing is a method where an organization sells ownership stakes in the company to investors in exchange for capital. Equity financing can be raised through the issuance of common shares, preferred stock, or warrants. Investors who purchase equity become partial owners of the firm, sharing in its profits through dividends and capital appreciation.