Consistent Valuation of Project Finance and LBO's Using the Flows-to-Equity Method
Ian A. Cooper
London Business School
Kjell G. Nyborg
University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Swiss Finance Institute
November 1, 2010
Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper No. 10-51
A common method of valuing the equity in leveraged transactions is the flows-toequity method whereby the free cash flow available to equity holders is discounted at the cost of equity. This method uses a standard definition of equity free cash flow, but the cost of equity varies over time as leverage varies. Various formulas can be used to calculate the time-varying cost of equity, most of which are inconsistent with the assumptions underlying the free cash flow calculation. In this paper we show how to include correctly the following in the flows-to-equity method:
• A releveraging formula consistent with a fixed debt plan;
• A yield spread on debt which is fair compensation for default risk;
• The part of the yield spread which is excessive;
• The expected cost of financial distress.
We show that each of these can have a significant effect on valuation and the value derived in a consistent way can differ substantially from that derived by more conventional procedures.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: Valuation, flows-to-equity, equity cash flow, cost of equity, project finance, LBO
JEL Classification: G12, G24, G31, G32, G33, G34working papers series
Date posted: December 14, 2010
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