## What is Capital Budgeting?

Capital budgeting is a process that companies or businesses perform when evaluating various capital investment projects. Through this process, they can determine whether a project or investment will be profitable in the future. It helps these companies in making decisions that can provide returns in the long run. It is one of the most crucial parts of a company’s decision-making processes.

When performing capital budgeting, companies evaluate various aspects of a project. It usually includes measuring the profits and cash flows that the project will generate. In some cases, companies may also compare several options to determine the best use of resources. The process aims to ensure companies don’t make losses in the future or to maximize shareholders’ wealth.

The capital budgeting process includes using various techniques, such as discounted cash flows, payback period, net present value, or internal rate of return to calculate profitability. For most of these techniques, the use of cash flows and a discount rate is prevalent. Companies usually use the weighted average cost of capital as a rate to discount cash flows to their present value.

## What is the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)?

The weighted average cost of capital represents a proportionally weighted rate of a company’s capital structure. Therefore, it includes a combination of the costs of equity and debt for a company, proportionally weighted. Companies use the percentage of total capital structure that the specific type of finance makes to weigh their rates.

The weighted average cost of capital is a figure often used in capital budgeting. It involves the calculation of both the cost of equity and the cost of debt. Companies can use several tools to do so, such as the capital asset pricing model or discounted cash flows. Once they do so, they can calculate the average rate for the total capital structure according to the proportion of each type of finance in the capital structure.

The use of the weighted average cost of capital is prevalent in various financial models and capital budgeting. However, some other types of capital budgets may use the marginal cost of capital instead of the weighted average.

## What is Optimal Capital Budgeting?

Optimal capital budgeting is a process that companies use to maximize shareholder value. Instead of using the weighted average cost of capital, companies can use the marginal cost of capital schedule and the investment opportunity schedule (IOS). Using this information, they can plot a graph to see where both of these figures intersect.

When companies obtain a graph between the marginal cost of capital and investment opportunity schedule curves, they will usually get an intersection between both curves. The point at which these curves intersect represents the optimal capital budget. Usually, the investment opportunity schedule is downward sloping, while the marginal cost of capital is an upward-sloping curve.

The optimal capital budget helps companies maximize the value of the investment. For that to happen, the marginal cost of capital must intersect with the investment opportunity schedule. In simpler words, the optimal capital budget represents the amount of finance that companies raise and invest at which marginal cost of capital and marginal return from the investment will be equal.

## What is the Marginal Cost of Capital?

The marginal cost of capital represents the cost associated with each raise in a company’s capital structure from various sources. This rate increases with each unit of capital raised by a company. The marginal cost of capital is the rate that shareholders and debtholders can expect from an investment in the future. Like the WACC, the marginal cost of capital also considers the cost of equity and debt.

However, the marginal cost of capital includes the marginal cost of equity and debt. The marginal cost of equity is the sum of the dividend payout ratio and the dividend growth rate for the company. Usually, companies adjust this figure for the cost of stock issuance. The marginal cost of debt is the expected interest rate after taxes.

## What is the Investment Opportunity Schedule (IOS)?

The investment opportunity schedule represents a list of projects sorted descending according to their internal rate of return. For companies, maximizing shareholder wealth is a priority. Therefore, using the investment opportunity schedule, they can determine which projects can result in the highest profits for the given investment value.

The investment opportunity schedule allows for the prioritization of the projects that companies undertake. The aim of this is to maximize the returns from the project. However, taking up more projects also increase the marginal cost of capital. Furthermore, capital constraints may also play a role in which projects companies can undertake.

## Conclusion

Capital budgeting is a process that companies use to evaluate various projects. Optimal capital budgeting is a process used to maximize the returns from a project. Similarly, it considers two factors for that purpose. These include the marginal cost of capital and IOS. Optimal capital budgeting considers the intersection between these two to be the best investment for companies.