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“Capital Structure Decision is Essentially Optimisation of Risk-return Relationship.” Comment. - Business Studies

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ConceptConcept of Capital Structure

Question

“Capital structure decision is essentially optimisation of risk-return relationship.” Comment.

Solution

Capital Structure refers to the combination of different financial sources used by a company for raising funds. The sources of raising funds can be classified on the basis of ownership into two categories as borrowed funds and owners’ fund. Borrowed funds are in the form of loans, debentures, borrowings from banks, public deposits, etc. On the other hand, owners’ funds are in the form of reserves, preference share capital, equity share capital, retained earnings, etc. Thus, capital structure refers to the combination of borrowed funds and owners’ fund. For simplicity, all borrowed funds are referred as debt and all owners’ funds are referred as equity. Thus, capital structure refers to the combination of debt and equity to be used by the company. The capital structure used by the company depends on the risks and returns of the various alternative sources.

Both debt and equity involve their respective risk and profitability considerations. While on one hand, debt is a cheaper source of finance but involves greater risk, on the other hand, although equity is comparatively expensive, they are relatively safe.

The cost of debt is less because it involves low risk for lenders as they earn an assured amount of return. Thereby, they require a low rate of return which lowers the costs to the firm. In addition to this, the interest on debt is deductible from the taxable income (i.e. interest that is to be paid to the debt security holders is deducted from the total income before paying the tax). Thus, higher return can be achieved through debt at a lower cost. In contrast, raising funds through equity is expensive as it involves certain floatation cost as well. Also, the dividends are paid to the share holders out of after tax profits.

Though debt is cheaper, higher debt raises the financial risk. This is due to the fact that debt involves obligatory payments to the lenders. Any default in payment of the interest can lead to the liquidation of the firm. As against this, there is no such compulsion in case of dividend payment to shareholders. Thus, high debt is related to high risk.

Another factor that affects the choice of capital structure is the return offered by various sources. The return offered by each source determines the value of earning per share. A high use of debt increases the earning per share of a company (this situation is called Trading on Equity). This is because as debt increases the difference between Return on Investment and the cost of debt increases and so does the EPS. Thus, there is a high return on debt. However, even though higher debt leads to higher returns but it also increases the risk to the company.

Therefore, the decision regarding the capital structure should be taken very carefully, taking into consideration the return and risk involved.

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Solution “Capital Structure Decision is Essentially Optimisation of Risk-return Relationship.” Comment. Concept: Concept of Capital Structure.
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