The Amount of Debt in the Long-Term Capital Structure

The Amount of Debt in the Long-Term Capital Structure

Watch the video with Andrew Stotz on the amount of debt in the long-term capital structure when forecasting a company or read a summary below.

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The amount of debt in the long-term capital structure

The Amount of #Debt in the Long-Term #Capital Structure by @Andrew_Stotz

How much debt will a company carry in the long-term?

This discussion starts by accumulating the financial statements of the 500 largest and most liquid non-financial companies in Asia.

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The Amount of #Debt in the Long-Term #Capital Structure by @Andrew_Stotz

What would happen to the WACC if debt was 30%, 40%, 50%, or 60% of total capital?

The Amount of #Debt in the Long-Term #Capital Structure by @Andrew_Stotz


Debt component of capital fluctuates based on the market value of equity

Assume that the debt level of a company remains the same throughout the stock market’s ups and downs. Also, assume that the book value of equity is the same over the same period. The only thing that will change is the price-to-book ratio. When it is low the market is pessimistic, when it is high the market is optimistic.

The Amount of #Debt in the Long-Term #Capital Structure by @Andrew_Stotz

If the value of equity of a company is trading at a low 0.5x price-to-book value then the debt will appear as a large portion of capital. If the value of equity is trading at an expensive 4.0x then debt appears tiny. But debt never changed.

Forecast long-term debt between 0% and 50%

  • When forecasting the long-term portion of debt as a % of total capital consider a range from 0% to 50%
  • If you estimate over 50% you are saying that from now to infinity the lenders to the company will put in more capital than the equity holders, this is unlikely
  • In addition, such a forecast will cause your WACC to be very small, producing a high valuation of the stock
  • Also, be aware of the price-to-book value of the company’s stocks
  • If it is trading at a very high 4x multiple the debt level may appear small
  • This would produce a higher than realistic WACC, hence a lower than realistic value for the stock
  • A price-to-book value of about 2x might be more realistic

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DISCLAIMER: This content is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Readers should not consider statements made by the author(s) as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. While the information provided is believed to be accurate, it may include errors or inaccuracies. The author(s) cannot be held liable for any actions taken as a result of reading this article.

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In 1992 Dr. Andrew Stotz, CFA, left a management career at Pepsi-Cola in California to teach finance in Thailand. In 1993, he found his life calling as a financial analyst, a job for which he was eventually voted #1 in Thailand. In the second half of his 20-year career in investment banking, Dr. Stotz was a Head of Research, leading teams of financial analysts. He served as a two-term president of CFA Society Thailand and now runs his firm, A. Stotz Investment Research, which provides research and tools for institutions and high-net-worth investors and helps CEOs make their companies financially world class.
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