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Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF)


Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF) is a financial metric that represents the money a company has left after operating costs, taxes, and necessary investments in working capital and fixed assets. Unlike levered free cash flow, it doesn’t take into account interest payments, thus showing the cash flow available to all investors, both debt and equity. Essentially, it’s the cash generated by the core business operations, irrespective of the capital structure.


The phonetics for “Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF)” would be:”uhn-leh-verd free cash flow (Yoo-Eff-See-Eff)”

Key Takeaways

  1. Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF) represents the cash flow available to all providers of capital, including debt, equity, and preferred equity. It’s the cash generated by a business before taking interest payments into account, hence it is not dependent on the capital structure of the business.
  2. Calculation of UFCF involves taking the operating income, subtracting taxes, and then adjusting for changes in working capital and capital expenditures. It is one of the most essential metrics for financial analysts and investors as it points out the cash generated strictly through business operations.
  3. UFCF is often used in discounted cash flow (DCF) models and in enterprise value calculations. It is important in these models as it eliminates the effects of different capital structures, providing a more direct comparison of business performance. This is particularly valuable in merger & acquisition and leveraged buyout scenarios.


Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF) is an important term in the realm of business and finance because it is a measure of the cash a firm generates from its core operations, excluding the impact of its capital structure. It provides a more direct view of a company’s cash generation capacity as it is not influenced by interest payments or tax benefits associated with debt. Thus, it allows for a more straightforward comparison between different companies irrespective of their levels of debt. By accurately analysing UFCF, businesses can make informed decisions on their capital investments, shareholder remuneration strategies, and acquisition opportunities. It can also aid investors in evaluating a company’s profitability, and potential for growth, risks, and return on investments.


Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF), also known as Free Cash Flow to the Firm (FCFF), is a crucial metric in finance and is often utilized to assess a company’s financial health and performance from an operational perspective. Essentially, UFCF is the cash generated by a firm’s primary business operations without considering the impact of its capital structure, making it an excellent indicator of a company’s ability to generate cash organically. This attribute makes UFCF widely used by investors, analysts, and financial managers to assess a business’s value, efficiency, and prospects for growth.Moreover, UFCF serves as a critical measure in discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation models, which are commonly employed to determine a company’s intrinsic value. By providing insight into the firm’s ability to produce cash flow free of any debt obligations, UFCF can facilitate a more accurate evaluation, free from distortions caused by different companies’ financing decisions. Such information can be instrumental for investors when deciding which company to invest in. Additionally, by monitoring changes in UFCF over time, business leaders can track their operational efficiency and make informed decisions to optimize operations and enhance profitability. It’s worth noting that a consistent positive UFCF might be a sign of a healthy and robust company.


1. Apple Inc.: Apple Inc., is known for generating a large amount of Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF). As per the company’s annual report, it usually generates its UFCF mostly by selling hardware, software and services. Often, Apple’s UFCF lies in the tens of billions of dollars, allowing the company to invest in research and development, buying back their shares, or paying dividends to the company’s stakeholders.2. Microsoft Corporation: Microsoft, a multinational technology company, is another excellent example of a company with significant UFCF. Its UFCF is mainly generated from its business segments like productivity and business processes, intelligent cloud, and more personal computing. These massive cash flows allow Microsoft to make major acquisitions, invest in research and development, and pay dividends to its shareholders.3. Walmart Inc.: Walmart represents an example in the retail industry. While retail businesses often operate on margins slimmer than tech companies, Walmart, given its size and operations, generates substantial UFCF. Even while incurring the operating costs associated with its thousands of stores worldwide, Walmart continues to have positive UFCF. The company uses these funds for expanding into new markets, improving operational efficiency, and providing dividends to its shareholders.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF)?

The Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF) is a company’s cash flow before taking interest payments into account. It represents the cash available to all investors, both debt and equity, before the cost of borrowing is considered.

How is UFCF calculated?

Unlevered Free Cash Flow can be calculated by adding back interest expenses and taxes to net income, and then adjusting for changes in working capital and capital expenditures.

Why is Unlevered Free Cash Flow important?

UFCF is an important metric as it provides a clearer picture of a company’s profitability and the cash it generates, excluding the financial structure. Investors use this metric to compare the performance of different companies without being impacted by different financing or tax structures.

How does UFCF differ from levered free cash flow?

The key difference between UFCF and Levered Free Cash Flow (LFCF) is that LFCF takes into account all financial obligations including interest and debt, while UFCF removes these costs. Hence, UFCF provides a measure of the company’s performance that is not influenced by its capital structure.

Is a higher UFCF always better?

Generally, a higher UFCF is a good sign as it means the company is generating more cash that could potentially be distributed to investors. However, too high a UFCF might also mean that the company is not investing enough in its business for future growth. Thus, it’s essential to evaluate UFCF in the context of the company’s overall financial health and growth strategy.

What are some limitations of using UFCF for financial analysis?

While UFCF is a useful measurement, it is not without limitations. For example, it does not account for the company’s investment in growth or it might not be a good indicator for industries that require high capital expenditure. It should therefore be used in conjunction with other financial metrics and assessments.

Can Unlevered Free Cash Flow be negative?

Yes, Unlevered Free Cash Flow can be negative, usually indicating the company is making significant investments in its business. However, it is vital to understand the source of this negative value to determine whether it’s a sign of financial distress or strategic investment for future growth.

Related Finance Terms

  • EBIT: Earnings Before Interest and Taxes
  • Capital Expenditures (CapEx): Funds used by a company to acquire or upgrade physical assets like property or equipment.
  • Operating Cash Flow: Cash generated by a firm’s normal business operations.
  • Non-Cash Expenses: Expenses that do not involve a cash outlay, such as depreciation and amortization.
  • Working Capital Changes: Changes in the net balance of a company’s current assets and current liabilities.

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