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Free Cash Flow Equity (FCFE)

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What Is Free Cash Flow Equity

A company's free cash flow to equity (FCFE) metric is a measure of how much cash can be distributed to equity shareholders in the form of dividends or stock buybacks after all expenses, reinvestments, and debt repayments have been paid. FCFE is calculated as a percentage of the company's revenue. Alternatively, it is referred to as the levered free cash flow or the flow to equity. Unlike dividends, which represent cash flows that are actually paid to shareholders, the FCFE represents cash flows that are simply available to shareholders. It is common for the FCFE to be calculated as part of the DCF or LBO modelling and valuation processes.

FCFE represents the cash left over after meeting all financial obligations and reinvestment requirements to keep the business running, such as capital expenditures (CapEx) and net working capital. The metric is frequently used as a proxy for the amount of money a company can return to its shareholders through dividends or share buybacks. FCFE is calculated as the difference between the cash left over after meeting all financial obligations and reinvestment requirements to keep the business running.

Formula For Free Cash Flow Equity (FCFE)

FCFE Formula From Net Income

The NOPAT metric, which is a capital-structure neutral metric, is used to begin the calculation of FCFF. For FCFE, on the other hand, we start with net income, a metric that has already taken into account the interest expense and tax savings associated with any outstanding debt.

Because FCFE is intended to reflect only the cash flows that flow to equity holders, there is no need to deduct interest, interest tax shield, or debt repayments from the figure to arrive at the final figure. Instead, we simply add back non-cash items, adjust for the change in NWC, and subtract the amount of CapEx that was previously deducted from the total.

Yet another important distinction is the deduction of the net borrowing, which is equal to the amount of debt borrowed less the amount of debt repaid.

FCFE = Net Income + Depreciation & Amortization – CapEx – ΔWorking Capital + Net Borrowing

Net Borrowing= Debt Borrowing - Debt Paydown

FCFE Formula From Cash from Operations

The cash flow from operations is the starting point for the FCFE formula. Taking net income from the income statement, adding back non-cash charges, and adjusting for the change in NWC are the only steps left to account for: capital expenditures and net borrowing.

FCFE = Cash Flow From Operations - Capex Net Borrowings

FCFE Formula From EBITDA

EBITDA, in contrast to net income and CFO, is not affected by the capital structure. If we start with EBITDA, we must subtract the impact of debt financing in order to remove the cash that is owed to creditors.

The interest expense is the only debt-related component of the EBITDA metric, and it is subtracted from the total. Take note that we are only currently working our way down the income statement to net income. However, the following step is to account for taxes, and there is no need to make any additional adjustments to the tax amount because we want to include the interest tax shield in our calculations.

The same steps apply now that we have transitioned from EBITDA to net income, with the exception that we deduct the change in NWC and CapEx. The final step is to subtract the net borrowing for the period in order to arrive at the FCFE for the period.

FCFE = EBIDTA - Interest - Taxes - Changes In Net Working Capital - Capex + Net Borrowings

Interpretation of FCFE

An analyst's use of the FCFE metric in an attempt to determine the value of a company is common. This method of valuation has gained popularity as a viable alternative to the dividend discount model (DDM), particularly in cases where a company does not pay a dividend to its shareholders. Despite the fact that FCFE may calculate the amount of money available to shareholders, this does not necessarily equate to the amount of money distributed to shareholders.

Analysts use free cash flow to equity (FCFE) to determine whether dividend payments and stock repurchases are funded by free cash flow to equity or some other form of financing. Investors want to see a dividend payment and a share repurchase that are fully funded by FCFE, which is currently not the case.

If the FCFE is less than the dividend payment and the cost of repurchasing shares, the company is either borrowing money or using existing capital to fund the purchase, or it is issuing new securities. Existing capital is comprised of retained earnings from previous financial periods.

Even if interest rates are at historically low levels, this is not what investors want to see in a current or prospective investment. A number of analysts believe that borrowing money to pay for share repurchases at a time when stocks are trading at a discount and interest rates are historically low is a wise investment at this time. However, this is only true if and when the company's stock price rises in the foreseeable future.

If the company's dividend payment funds are significantly less than the FCFE, it is likely that the company is using the excess funds to boost its cash position or to make investments in marketable securities. In the end, if the funds expended to buy back shares or pay dividends are approximately equal to the FCFE, the firm is redistributing the entire amount to its shareholders.

What are the uses of FCFE

It is possible to calculate the enterprise value by discounting free cash flows to firm (FCFF) at the weighted average cost of capital (WACC). The equity value is calculated by subtracting the firm's net debt and the value of other claims from the enterprise value (EV).

Even if you discount only the free cash flows to equity (FCFE), you should use a discount rate that is equal to the required return on equity. This method of estimating equity value is more direct than the previous method.

In theory, if all of the inputs are consistent, both approaches should result in the same value of equity.


Cash available to all of a firm's capital providers after all operating expenses (including taxes) and expenditures required to support the firm's productive capacity are paid is referred to as free cash flow to firm (FCFF). Common stockholders, bondholders, preferred stockholders, and other claimholders are all examples of capital providers, as are bondholders.

It is the cash flow that is available to the firm's common stockholders only, which is known as free cash flow to equity (FCFE).

If a company is entirely funded by equity, its FCFF is equal to its FCFE.

Financial Cash Flow from Financing is the cash flow available to capital providers after all operating expenses (including taxes) have been paid and all working and fixed capital investments have been made.

It is calculated by making the following adjustments to the EBITDA statement.

Why does Negative FCFE Imply?

It is possible that a large negative net income will result in a negative FCFE.

Reinvestment requirements, such as large capital expenditures, may outstrip net income, as is frequently the case for growth companies, particularly in their early stages of development.

Positive FCFE can result from large debt repayments coming due that must be funded by equity cash flows; highly leveraged firms that are attempting to reduce their debt ratios can experience years of negative FCFE.

In years when firms invest significant amounts of cash in some years and nothing in others, the reinvestment process can cause the FCFE to be negative in those years when firms invest a significant amount of cash in those years and positive in those years when firms invest nothing in those years.

When FCFE is negative or when the firm's capital structure is unstable, FCFF is the preferred metric for determining its valuation.

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