Use of Financial Leverage in Corporate Capital Structure

the use of financial leverage can:

Leveraging means more debt, and a greater chance of large profits, but also big losses.In the UK and Australia, people commonly used the term gearinginstead of leverage. People use leverage, i.e. borrow money, because they believe that with the extra money they can buy more assets and make a bigger profit. Financially over-leveraged companies may face a decrease in return on equity.

  • This situation encourages the finance manager to go in for more and more debt financing to enhance the benefits to shareholders.
  • A higher value of leverage signifies that a company has more debt than equity.
  • Using leverage gives professionals more flexibility in directing the money they have to invest.
  • Retail stores, airlines, grocery stores, utility companies, and banking institutions are classic examples.
  • The term is used differently in investments and corporate finance, and has multiple definitions in each field.

This means that after paying the debt of $50,000, the company will remain with $20,000 which translates to a loss of $30,000 ($50,000 – $20,000). Financial leverage is the use of borrowed money to finance the purchase ofassets with the expectation that the income or capital gain from the new asset will exceed the cost of borrowing. This is a particular problem when interest rates rise or the returns from assets decline.

How are the concepts of financial leverage and Operating Leverage related?

Such a firm is sensitive to changes in sales volume and the volatility may affect the firm’s EBIT and returns on invested capital. In essence, corporate management utilizes financial leverage primarily to increase the company’s earnings per share and to increase its return-on-equity. However, with these advantages come increased earnings variability and the potential for an increase in the cost of financial distress, perhaps even bankruptcy.

  • Losses may occur when the interest expense payments for the asset overwhelm the borrower because the returns from the asset are not sufficient.
  • Leverage has caused you to increase production on a product that loses money on each sale.
  • It indicates how a firm utilizes the available financial securities, such as equity and debt.
  • The use of financial leverage also has value when the assets that are purchased with the debt capital earn more than the cost of the debt that was used to finance them.
  • Operating leverage is the degree of dependence a company places on its _________.

While financial leverage can be profitable, too much financial leverage risk can prove to be detrimental to your business. Always keep potential risk in mind when deciding how much financial leverage should financial leverage be used. If Joe had chosen to purchase the first building using his own cash, that would not have been financial leverage because no additional debt was assumed in order to complete the purchase.

Financial Leverage Ratios to Measure Business Solvency

Financial leverage results from using borrowed capital as a funding source when investing to expand the firm’s asset base and generate returns on risk capital. Leverage is an investment strategy of using borrowed money—specifically, the use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital—to increase the potential return of an investment. Nevertheless, financing with preferred stock will have the same kind of leveraging effect as debt financing as illustrated above. Leverage not only magnifies your profits, it has the same effect on losses. For example, suppose you borrow excessively to purchase new manufacturing equipment to increase production. You subsequently discover that the public has soured on your product and you must reduce prices below your costs, which includes interest costs that raise your breakeven point. Leverage has caused you to increase production on a product that loses money on each sale.

the use of financial leverage can:

A reserve requirement is a fraction of certain liabilities that must be held as a certain kind of asset . A capital requirement is a fraction of assets that must be held as a certain kind of liability or equity . Before the 1980s, regulators typically imposed judgmental capital requirements, a bank was supposed to be “adequately capitalized,” but these were not objective rules. Assets are $200, liabilities are $100 so accounting leverage is 2 to 1.


Thus, financial leverage measures the relationship between the operating profit and earning per share to equity shareholders. It is calculated as the percentage change in EPS divided by a percentage change in EBIT. Leverage is the ratio between credit and equity capital in a financial transaction.

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