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Incremental Cost of Capital


Incremental cost of capital refers to the additional expense a company incurs when raising more funds through the issuance of debt or equity. It is the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for the new funding and represents the minimum return a company must earn on its investments to maintain its existing value. Essentially, it helps a firm determine the profitability of financing decisions and potential projects.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Incremental Cost of Capital” would be:/ ˌɪnkrəˈmentəl kɔst əv ˈkæpɪtəl /Where:- Incremental: /ˌɪnkrəˈmentəl/ – Cost: /kɔst/- of: /əv/- Capital: /ˈkæpɪtəl/

Key Takeaways

  1. Incremental Cost of Capital refers to the average cost of raising additional funds through debt, equity, or a combination of both. It is a crucial financial metric for organizations, as it informs decision-making processes regarding new investment opportunities and capital expansions.
  2. Calculating Incremental Cost of Capital involves assessing the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) of the organization. WACC considers the firm’s capital structure, the cost of debt, the cost of equity, and the tax rate. It is essential to note that as new funds are being raised, the overall capital structure may change, affecting both the cost of debt and equity, thus influencing the Incremental Cost of Capital.
  3. Effective management of Incremental Cost of Capital is fundamental for the long-term financial success of a business. Organizations should strive to balance the risk and rewards associated with different financing options, so they can maintain an optimal level of borrowing costs while meeting their growth objectives and maximizing shareholder value.


The Incremental Cost of Capital (ICC) is an important business/finance concept as it represents the cost a company incurs when raising additional funds to finance new investments or projects. It is the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for each new dollar invested, helping management make vital investment decisions by evaluating and comparing potential projects. By considering the ICC, firms can optimize their financial choices to minimize their capital costs while maximizing value created for shareholders. In essence, understanding the Incremental Cost of Capital is crucial for determining whether new investment opportunities are worthwhile, ensuring a company’s long-term financial health and strategic success.


The Incremental Cost of Capital serves a crucial purpose in determining a company’s optimal financing strategy, as it allows organizations to measure the additional cost incurred for funding new projects and investments. This concept can help decision-makers understand the tradeoffs associated with different funding sources, such as equity, debt, or a mix of both. By comparing the Incremental Cost of Capital with the expected return of a project, managers can assess if an investment will generate enough returns to compensate for the additional cost of capital. Consequently, this plays a vital role in capital budgeting and long-term financial planning, ensuring that a company allocates its financial resources efficiently and towards the most value-adding projects. In practice, Incremental Cost of Capital is used for a multitude of purposes, including evaluating the financial feasibility of expanding operations or entering new markets, as well as determining the most suitable financing structure for a firm. This metric empowers financial analysts and executives to make informed decisions about undertaking new investment opportunities and projects while effectively controlling the risk. Additionally, this concept allows businesses to identify the right mix of debt and equity financing which results in a lower overall cost of capital. By optimizing the capital structure, enterprises can achieve a balance between the less expensive debt and potentially more expensive equity financing, consequently maximizing their overall financial potential and long-term value creation for shareholders.


1. Infrastructure Expansion: A utility company is considering expanding its infrastructure to provide better services to its customers and handle increased demand. The company would need to assess the incremental cost of capital associated with this project, which includes the costs of issuing new debt and equity to fund the expansion. This may include the cost of interest on new loans, issuance costs like underwriting fees, the required return on equity investments, and the dilutive effect on existing shareholders due to the issuance of additional shares. 2. New Product Line: A manufacturing firm plans to launch a new product line to diversify its offerings and enhance revenue streams. To fund this expansion, the company must assess the incremental cost of capital required to finance the new product development, manufacturing, and marketing. This assessment would include factors such as potential new borrowing costs, the dilution impact on current shareholders, and possibly the costs related to securing additional equity funding, such as investor relations or compliance fees. 3. Acquisition: A large corporation is exploring a strategic acquisition to increase its market share and grow its business. To finance this acquisition, the corporation needs to determine the incremental cost of capital necessary to complete the deal. This would involve evaluating the costs of borrowing funds through debt financing, such as bonds or loans, and the potential impact on the company’s credit rating. In addition, the company would need to consider the costs of issuing new equity, such as stock issuance costs and the potential negative effects on existing shareholders. This analysis is crucial to ensure that the acquisition will ultimately be accretive to shareholder value and contribute positively to the company’s growth prospects.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Incremental Cost of Capital?
Incremental Cost of Capital refers to the weighted average of all new capital raised by a company. It is the additional cost required to finance new projects or investments by issuing more equity, debt, or a hybrid of both. It represents the cost of raising an extra dollar of funding relative to the company’s existing capital structure.
How is Incremental Cost of Capital calculated?
Incremental Cost of Capital can be calculated using the following formula:ICC = (Cost of Equity * Equity Weight) + (Cost of Debt * (1 – Tax Rate) * Debt Weight)Where,Cost of Equity represents the return required by equity shareholders,Equity Weight is the proportion of equity financing,Cost of Debt is the interest rate paid on the company’s debt,Tax Rate is the company’s corporate tax rate, andDebt Weight is the proportion of debt financing.
Why is Incremental Cost of Capital important?
Incremental Cost of Capital is essential to estimate the minimum return that a business should earn on a new project or investment. It helps companies make informed decisions by comparing the potential return on investment (ROI) to the additional risk and financing cost associated with new investments. If a project’s ROI is higher than the incremental cost of capital, it might be considered worth pursuing as it is expected to generate value for the company’s shareholders.
What is the difference between the Incremental Cost of Capital and the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)?
While both Incremental Cost of Capital (ICC) and Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) are related concepts, they differ in their scope. WACC calculates the average cost of capital for a company, considering the existing capital structure (equity and debt). In contrast, ICC estimates the additional cost of obtaining new capital to undertake new projects or investments. ICC takes into account changes in the capital structure, while WACC considers the current capital structure.
How does the Incremental Cost of Capital impact a company’s investment decisions?
Incremental Cost of Capital serves as a hurdle rate for a company’s investment decisions. It is the minimum return required for companies to justify investment in new projects or expansion. Companies compare the ICC with the anticipated return on investment (ROI) for potential projects. If a project’s ROI is higher than the ICC, the project is expected to provide positive returns, and the company should consider moving forward with the investment. Conversely, if the ROI is lower than the ICC, the company may choose to forego the investment as it could result in value destruction.
How can companies reduce their Incremental Cost of Capital?
Companies can reduce their Incremental Cost of Capital by optimizing their capital structure to minimize financing costs. Several ways to achieve this include attracting low-cost debt, reducing risks associated with new projects, maintaining a strong credit rating to lower interest rates, and maintaining a balanced mix of equity and debt financing. Additionally, companies can take advantage of tax benefits to reduce their cost of debt.

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