Friday, October 30

Free Cash Flow (FCF)

Free Cash Flow, frequently abbreviate FCF, is a liquidity and efficiency ratio which computes how a lot of more money a company generates than it uses to operate and expand the company by subtracting the funding expenditures in the operating cash flow. To put it differently, this is actually the surplus money a company generates later it pays all its operating costs and CAPEX. That is an important concept since it reveals how effective the company is at creating money and in case it could cover its shareholders a yield after it funds its own operations and expansions.

What is Free Cash Flow?

Investors and lenders use this ratio to examine a company in many various ways. Investors enjoy this dimension since it tells the facts about the way the company is doing. Other financial ratios is corrected or altered by the direction’s therapy of accounting fundamentals. This is not actually possible for this particular calculation. It’s hard to pretend the money flow coming in and making a provider. Therefore, investors consider this ratio to evaluate how well the company is performing and more importantly is it in a position to supply a return in their investment.

Creditors, on the flip side, also use this dimension to examine the cash flows of the business and assess its capacity to satisfy its debt commitments.

Now we all know the reason why this ratio is vital, allow’s response to the question what’s FCF?


The free cash flow formulation is calculated by subtracting capital expenditures from operating cash flow. The OCF part of the equation could be divided up and be computed individually by subtracting any taxes because of change in networking capital from EBITDA.

Free Cash Flow

As you can see, the free cash flow equation is straightforward. It essentially only steps how a lot of additional money the company will have following it pays for all its operations and fixed share purchases.

Keep in mind that we’re quantifying cash flow. We aren’t measuring the cumulative cash share account. This measurement compares the money coming in the door to the money being paid out for operations and expenditures. If there are excess funds, the company can give some to their investors. If there is a deficit, the company will have to dip into savings or take out a loan to fund its activities.

Let’s take a look at an example.


Tim’s Tool Shop is a small home improvement store that sells tools and other household goods. Tim wants to expand into new territories, but he can’t do it by itself. Thus he wishes to draw on fresh investors. The new investors wish to test the shop’s free money flows to see whether it’d be worth the time.

Tim’sincome statement shows that he had a net benefit of $100,000 after taxes last year. In order to calculate the operating cash flow, we need to add back any non-cash expenses that reduced his net income like depreciation and amortization. We also have to adjust the benefit of the change in working capital. Tim’s financial statements listed the following numbers:

  • Depreciation: $10,000
  • Amortization: $5,000
  • Current stocks: $100,000
  • Current liabilities: $80,000
  • Fixed share purchases: $50,000

Thus, Tim would calculate his OCF like this $100,000 – ($100,000 – $80,000) $10,000 $5,000 = $95,000. Here’s how to calculate free cash flow for Tim’s business using the FCF formula:

Free Cash Flow Formula

As you can see, Tim’s free cash flow is greater than his capital expenditures. This excess free cash flow is used to give investors a return or invest back into the business. If Tim’s CFC was less than his capital expenditures, he would have negative free cash flow and would not have enough money coming in to pay for his operations and expansions.


What is Free Cash Flow Used For?

Since the free cash flow equation is both an efficiency and liquidity ratio, it gives investors a great deal of information about the company. Obviously, in most cases, a larger FCF is always better than a lesser number because it indicates that the company is doing well and its operations are able to fund all of its activities while throwing off excess cash for its investors.

Going back to our example, Tim’s business generated $45,000 in excess of what it needed to run the operations and fund the new capital investments. This $45,000 could be put back into the business to buy more inventory, or it could be used to issue Tim and his new investors a dividend at the end of the year. This is what Tim’s new investors want to see. They want to see that the business operations are healthy and efficient enough to generate excess funds.

It’s important to note that excess cash does not always mean the company is doing well or what it should be doing to grow in the future. For example, a company might have positive FCF because it’s not spending any money on new equipment. Eventually, the equipment will break down and the business might have to cease operations until the equipment is replaced. For instance, Tim’s delivery truck might need to be replaced. If the truck is inoperable, he might lose orders.

Conversely, negative free cash flow might simply mean that the business is investing heavily in new equipment and other capital stocks causing the excess cash to disappear. Like with all financial ratios, FCF is a peek into how a company is operated and the strategies that management is taking. You have to measure and analyze the numbers to understand why the ratios are the way they are and whether or not a business is healthy.