2. Chapter Objectives
Explain the concept of financial leverage.
Discuss the alternative measures of financial
Understand the risk and return implications
of financial leverage.
Analyse the combined effect of financial and
Highlight the difference between operating
risk and financial risk.
3. Questions while Making the
How should the investment project be financed?
Does the way in which the investment projects are
How does financing affect the shareholders’ risk,
return and value?
Does there exist an optimum financing mix in terms
of the maximum value to the firm’s shareholders?
Can the optimum financing mix be determined in
practice for a company?
What factors in practice should a company consider
in designing its financing policy?
4. Capital Structure Defined
The term capital structure is used to represent
the proportionate relationship between debt
The various means of financing represent the
financial structure of an enterprise. The left-
hand side of the balance sheet (liabilities plus
equity) represents the financial structure of a
company. Traditionally, short-term borrowings
are excluded from the list of methods of
financing the firm’s capital expenditure.
The term leverage refers to means of
accomplishing power for gaining an advantage.
It represents the impact of one financial variable
over some other related financial variable.
Leverage refers to the ability of a firm in
employing long term funds having fixed costs ,
to enhance the returns to the owners.
6. Operating Leverage
The tendency of the operating profits of the
company to behave disproportionately with the
sales is referred as operating leverage. Thus it
refers to the sensitivity of operating profit
before interest and tax to changes in quantity
produced and sold.
Operating Leverage = Contribution / EBIT
Thus a company with high fixed costs to total cost
will have high operating leverage.
7. Operating Leverage
affects a firm’s
operating profit (EBIT).
The degree of
(DOL) is defined as the
percentage change in
the earnings before
interest and taxes
relative to a given
percentage change in
% Change in EBIT
% Change in Sales
8. Meaning of Financial
The use of the fixed-charges sources of funds, such
as debt and preference capital along with the
owners’ equity in the capital structure, is described
as financial leverage or gearing or trading on
The financial leverage employed by a company is
intended to earn more return on the fixed-charge
funds than their costs. The surplus (or deficit) will
increase (or decrease) the return on the owners’
equity. The rate of return on the owners’ equity is
levered above or below the rate of return on total
9. Financial Leverage
This ratio indicates the effects on earnings by rise of
fixed cost funds. It refers to the use of debt in the
capital structure. Financial leverage arises when a firm
deploys debt funds with fixed charge. The ratio is
expressed as follows:-
Financial Leverage = EBIT /EBT
The higher the ratio , the lower is the cushion for
paying interest on borrowings. A low ratio indicates a
low interest outflow and consequently lower
borrowings. A high ratio is risky and constitutes strains
10. Degree of Financial Leverage
The financial leverage highlights the proportion
of fixed return securities in the capital structure
which are used to increase the ultimate return to
the equity shareholders. The degree of financial
leverage is an attribute of the firm’s exposure to
financial risk. The degree of financial leverage is
expressed as follows:-
Degree of Financial Leverage = % Change In
EPS/ % Change in EBIT
11. Measures of Financial Leverage
The first two measures of financial leverage can be
expressed either in terms of book values or market
values. These two measures are also known as
measures of capital gearing.
The third measure of financial leverage, commonly
known as coverage ratio. The reciprocal of interest
coverage is a measure of the firm’s income
13. Combining Financial and
Operating leverage affects a firm’s
operating profit (EBIT), while financial
leverage affects profit after tax or the
earnings per share.
The degrees of operating and financial
leverages is combined to see the effect of
total leverage on EPS associated with a
given change in sales.
14. Combining Financial and
The degree of combined leverage (DCL) is
given by the following equation:
CL = OL *FL
Cont/EBIT* EBIT/EBT= Cont/EBT
% Change in EBIT % Change in EPS % Change in EPS
% Change in Sales % Change in EBIT % Change in Sales
15. Financial Leverage and the
The variability of EBIT and EPS distinguish
between two types of risk—operating risk and
Operating risk can be defined as the variability of
EBIT (or return on total assets). The
environment—internal and external—in which a
firm operates determines the variability of EBIT
The variability of EBIT has two components:
variability of sales
variability of expenses
The variability of EPS caused by the use of financial
leverage is called financial risk.