Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) with Risky Debt: A Simple Exposition (I)
Duke University - Duke Center for International Development in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Debt is rarely risk-free. Yet, on grounds of simplicity, in most discussions on the weighted average cost of capital (WACC), we assume that the debt is risk-free. At the same, in the calculation of the WACC, we may use a value for the cost of debt d that is higher than the risk-free rate rf.
In this teaching note, using simple binomial models, we examine the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) with risky debt and no taxes. Taxes raise additional complications. In a subsequent note, we analyze the case with taxes. With risky debt, we have to use the expected rate of return on the debt rather than the promised rate of return on the debt in the formula for the WACC. Furthermore, we model the expected cost of risky debt as an increasing function of the amount of debt.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: multi-period WACC, cost of capital, risky debt
JEL Classification: D61, H43, G31working papers series
Date posted: November 18, 2002
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