What is Capital Structure

The most crucial component of starting a business is capital. It acts as the foundation of the company. Debt and Equity are the two primary types of capital sources for a business. Capital structure is defined as the combination of equity and debt that is put into use by a company in order to finance the overall operations of the company and for its growth.

Types of Capital Structure

The meaning of Capital structure can be described as the arrangement of capital by using different sources of long term funds which consists of two broad types, equity and debt. The different types of funds that are raised by a firm include preference shares, equity shares, retained earnings, long-term loans etc. These funds are raised for running the business.

Equity Capital

Equity capital is the money owned by the shareholders or owners. It consists of two different types

a) Retained earnings: Retained earnings are part of the profit that has been kept separately by the organisation and which will help in strengthening the business.

b) Contributed Capital: Contributed capital is the amount of money which the company owners have invested at the time of opening the company or received from shareholders as a price for ownership of the company.

Debt Capital

Debt capital is referred to as the borrowed money that is utilised in business. There are different forms of debt capital.

  1. Long Term Bonds: These types of bonds are considered the safest of the debts as they have an extended repayment period, and only interest needs to be repaid while the principal needs to be paid at maturity.
  2. Short Term Commercial Paper: This is a type of short term debt instrument that is used by companies to raise capital for a short period of time

Optimal Capital Structure

Optimal capital structure is referred to as the perfect mix of debt and equity financing that helps in maximising the value of a company in the market while at the same time minimises its cost of capital.

Capital structure varies across industries. For a company involved in mining or petroleum and oil extraction, a high debt ratio is not suitable, but some industries like insurance or banking have a high amount of debt as part of their capital structure.

Financial Leverage

Financial leverage is defined as the proportion of debt that is part of the total capital of the firm. It is also known as capital gearing. A firm having a high level of debt is called a highly levered firm while a firm having a lower ratio of debt is known as a low levered firm.

Importance of Capital Structure

Capital structure is vital for a firm as it determines the overall stability of a firm. Here are some of the other factors that highlight the importance of capital structure

  1. A firm having a sound capital structure has a higher chance of increasing the market price of the shares and securities that it possesses. It will lead to a higher valuation in the market.
  2. A good capital structure ensures that the available funds are used effectively. It prevents over or under capitalisation.
  3. It helps the company in increasing its profits in the form of higher returns to stakeholders.
  4. A proper capital structure helps in maximising shareholder’s capital while minimising the overall cost of the capital.
  5. A good capital structure provides firms with the flexibility of increasing or decreasing the debt capital as per the situation.

Factors Determining Capital Structure

Following are the factors that play an important role in determining the capital structure:

  1. Costs of capital: It is the cost that is incurred in raising capital from different fund sources. A firm or a business should generate sufficient revenue so that the cost of capital can be met and growth can be financed.
  2. Degree of Control: The equity shareholders have more rights in a company than the preference shareholders or the debenture shareholders. The capital structure of a firm will be determined by the type of shareholders and the limit of their voting rights.
  3. Trading on Equity: For a firm which uses more equity as a source of finance to borrow new funds to increase returns. Trading on equity is said to occur when the rate of return on total capital is more than the rate of interest paid on debentures or rate of interest on the new debt borrowed.
  4. Government Policies: The capital structure is also impacted by the rules and policies set by the government. Changes in monetary and fiscal policies result in bringing about changes in capital structure decisions.

The concept of the Capital structure, along with the components and the factors that influence capital structure is discussed. To learn more about such important concepts, stay tuned to BYJU’S.

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