Degree of financial leverage

Degree of financial leverage
See also

Degree of financial leverage can be defined as caused by change in EBIT (earning before interest and tax), the procentage change in taxable profit. Financial leverage is company's capability to increase the earnings per share as the effect of changes in EBIT, by using fixed financial charges. Company expects increasing of the shareholders' return by right usage of funds that it gained at the fixed cost. There are two types of financial leverage results (C.Paramasivan 2009, p. 86):

  • Profitable (positive) financial leverage - this is desirable type of leverage. It occurs when the constant cost of funds which company purchased it's assets are lower than earnings of their usage. Positive financial leverage can be called favourible.
  • Unprofitable (negative) financial leverage - this type of leverage is opposed to the first one. The funds costs are larger than earnings of the company. Negative financial leverage can be called unfavourable.

Calculation of the financial leverage is concluded in following formula\[FL=\frac{OP}{PBT}\]


  • FL is financial leverage
  • OP is EBIT (operating profit)
  • PBT is profit before tax

Calculation of the degree of financial leverage is concluded in following formula\[DFL=\frac{PCTI}{CEBIT}\]


  • DFL is degree of financial leverage
  • PCTI is procentage change in taxable income
  • CEBIT is change in earning before interest and tax.

Financial leverage usage[edit]

There are few examples of financial leverage usage (C.Paramasivan 2009, p. 88):

  • Financial leverage is important device in analysing proportion between fixed costs and total capital.
  • We can use financial leverage in choosing structure of the capital that provides positive financial decisions.

Market can collect information about economic results by analysing changes in financial leverage. This information is potentially more than the one we can receive from earnings alone. Increasing financial leverage is signal that situation on market have deteriorated. And the other way, declining financial leverage is a sign of improved performance on market. Change in financial leverage is negatively connected with risk-adjusted stock return as long as market analyse its performance in stock prices. That means that changes in financial leverage are relevant value (V. Dimitrov 2006, p. 6).

Increasing financial leverage in merging[edit]

Sometimes merging companies have increased their financial leverage. There are two possible reasons of this situation. First one is connected with merge debt capacity increase. Second one is debt that companies didn't use before merge (A. Ghosh 2000 p. 1-5).

  1. Debt capacity theory - debt capacity is influenced by the company size. Financial leverage is relatively higher in larger firms. It is caused by fact that greater companies' default risk is lower. Debt capacity can be measured by financial leverage of ingenuity and size matched firms. Using market value as a size rate, those firms are matched on the joint size of the target company (the one that will be created by merger) and merging firms. Market value rates are taken from one year before merger. Financial leverage of the matched companies over years before merger is higher than merging firms if debt capacity is related with size of firms positively.
  2. Unused debt capacity theory - one or both of the merging companies can have unused debt capacity that come from years before merging. Financial leverage can be increased by the utilization of unused debt capacity and it is more possible than debt capacity increase. To analyse if increase of financial leverage is caused by unused debt capacity, leverages of target and acquiring companies are being compared separately with close size and ingenuity matched ones. Then debt capacity is separately estimate for acquiring and target companies for years before merger. After that, financial leverage in actual value is compare to benchmark leverage. If actual is less than benchmark, we can assume that leverage following mergers is increasing at least partly as result of unused debt capacity from past.

Influence on investment[edit]

Financial leverage have got influence into investment and according to that on the business risk. It is caused by that it affects the effective degree of irreversible investement. Investements can be financed with leverage. When it happens, the effective value of capital is reduced by connected with debt financing tax savings for the time of investement. At the time without investement, company is forced to pay back debt (according to debt agreement). Therefore, company gives up tax savings connected with peculiar investement debt financing. The resale price is lower than purchase and both of these prices should be adapted to same value of tax savings. Because of that their ratio rises as a debt financing result (A. K. Ozdagli 2012, p. 5).


Author: Maciej Soczówka