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Internal Growth Rate


The Internal Growth Rate (IGR) is a financial term that refers to the highest growth rate a business can achieve without external financial help, such as borrowing money or issuing new shares. It reflects the growth companies can attain solely from operating their business. Companies calculate IGR using their own resources like generated retained earnings.


The phonetic spelling of “Internal Growth Rate” is:Internal: /ɪnˈtɜːrnl/Growth: /ɡroʊθ/Rate: /reɪt/

Key Takeaways

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  • The Internal Growth Rate (IGR) is a measure of how much a company can grow using only its own operations and resources, without any external financial aid such as debt or equity. This rate gives stakeholders a glance at the firm’s efficiency and self-sustainability.

  • IGR is usually calculated using the formula: IGR = (ROA x Retention Ratio) / (1 – (ROA x Retention Ratio)). Where, ROA stands for Return on Assets; indicating the business’s efficiency at using its assets to generate profits. The Retention Ratio is the proportion of net income that is retained, rather than paid out to shareholders as dividends.

  • Understanding a company’s Internal Growth Rate helps assess its growth potential, providing vital information to investors and stakeholders. A high IGR suggests that a company has strong internal mechanisms for growth without the need for significant borrowing or issuing more shares, potentially indicating a favorable investment opportunity.


The Internal Growth Rate (IGR) is a critical concept in business and finance because it provides a measure of a company’s potential organic growth, exclusively considering its operations without the inclusion of external financing (like debt or equity). It reflects the firm’s capacity to increase sales and output based on its existing resources such as assets, equity, and retained earnings. Understanding this figure allows the company to gauge its performance, operational efficiency, and to make sound strategic decisions. In essence, a favorable IGR means the company is potentially capable of self-sustained growth, making it attractive to investors and shareholders alike.


The Internal Growth Rate (IGR) is a vital financial measurement utilized primarily to gauge a firm’s ability to grow organically i.e., without resorting to external funding sources such as issuing new debt or equity. Companies and investors alike pay specific attention to IGR as it provides valuable insight into a firm’s self-sustainable growth potential, which is essentially the maximum growth rate it can attain while keeping its financial structure unchanged and without breaching its normal operational efficiency. In essence, IGR is an excellent measure for demonstrating a company’s financial health and stability, while revealing its inherent growth capability based purely on reinvested earnings and operational efficiency.By incorporating elements like the Retention Ratio (portion of net income that is retained rather than paid out as dividends) and Return on Equity, the Internal Growth Rate calculation underscores a firm’s earnings capability and the effectiveness of reinvesting those earnings for future growth. It further helps a company assess its growth strategies, allowing it to plan for optimal resource allocation, and ensuring that it does not overextend itself to the point of financial distress. For investors, an understanding of a company’s IGR can help identify potentially lucrative investments, as firms demonstrating high IGRs may represent opportunities for higher return on investment due to their potential for self-fueled growth and financial stability.


1. Amazon: Amazon is often cited as an example of a company that has achieved significant internal growth. It started as an online book retailer in the 90s and then gradually expanded into other retail categories. Over time, Amazon began selling electronics, household goods, apparel, and even launched its own consumer electronics like the Kindle and Echo. This was all complemented by the growth of Amazon Web Services, which became a dominant player in cloud computing. All of these developments represent internal growth because they were funded by Amazon’s own profits and cash flows and not through external financing.2. Tesla: Tesla, a prominent name in the electric vehicle industry, also exhibits a high internal growth rate. Initially focused on high-end luxury electric vehicles, Tesla expanded its model range to attract a wider customer base. Furthermore, Tesla has made significant advancements in battery technology and autonomous driving software. This growth was not funded by large amount of debt or equity but from revenues from car sales and other services, showing robust internal growth.3. Apple: Apple Inc is another company that demonstrates strong internal growth. Beginning with the production and sale of personal computers, Apple has significantly diversified its product portfolio over the years, introducing revolutionary products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Not to mention the growth of services like iCloud, App Store, and subscription services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+. Almost all of these initiatives were financed through revenues from existing products and services, highlighting Apple’s strong internal growth rate.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Internal Growth Rate (IGR)?

The Internal Growth Rate (IGR) is a measure that provides the highest growth rate a business can achieve without external financial borrowing or increasing its current liabilities.

How is the Internal Growth Rate calculated?

The Internal Growth Rate is calculated by using the following formula:IGR = (ROA x Retention Ratio) / (1 – (ROA x Retention Ratio)), where ROA is Return on Assets and Retention Ratio is the percentage of net income that is retained in the business.

What does a high IGR for a company indicate?

A high IGR indicates that the company is capable of growing significantly using its own resources, without resorting to borrowing or increasing its liabilities.

How does the Internal Growth Rate differ from the Sustainable Growth Rate?

While both rates describe how much a company can grow using internal resources, the major difference is that Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) considers equity financing (like issuing more stocks) as an internal financing method, while IGR only considers profits that are plowed back into the business.

Can a company’s IGR change over time?

Yes, a company’s IGR can and does change over time due to changes in factors such as profitability, business risk, financial policies, and economic conditions.

How can a business increase its Internal Growth Rate?

A business can increase its IGR by improving its profitability (Return on Assets) and by retaining more of its earnings in the business (increasing the Retention Ratio).

Is a high Internal Growth Rate always a positive thing?

Not necessarily. While a high IGR can indicate a strong potential for growth without external financing, it may also mean that the company is not exploiting external growth opportunities, such as acquisitions or partnerships, that could deliver higher returns.

What are the limitations of using the IGR as a measure of growth?

The limitations of the IGR are primarily that it is a theoretical measure that assumes all variables remain constant and that it overlooks external avenues of growth.

Related Finance Terms

  • Retained Earnings
  • Reinvestment Ratio
  • Return on Assets (ROA)
  • Sustainable Growth Rate
  • Capital Structure

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