In the article below I will be calculating 3M’s (NYSE:MMM) cost of debt, cost of equity and WACC. Using these formulas we will understand how much the shareholder should expect in return for the stock over the long-term, how much the company pays for its debt and how much the company needs in return to break even on its investments.

**Cost of Debt**

The cost of debt is the effective rate that a company pays on its total debt. As a company acquires debt through various bonds, loans and other forms of debt, the cost of debt is a useful metric. It gives an idea as to the overall rate being paid by the company to use debt financing. This measure is also useful because it gives investors an idea as to the riskiness of the company compared with others. When using this formula, the higher the cost of debt, the higher the risk to the company.

**Cost of debt (before tax) = Corporate Bond rate of company’s bond rating.**

- 3m Company 5% = 5%
- Cost of debt = 5%

**Current tax rate**

- 2013 TTM – = 28.34%

2013 TTM 3M has averaged tax rate of 28.34%

**Cost of Debt (After Tax) = (Cost of Debt Before Tax) (1 – Tax Rate)**

This is the effective rate that a company pays on its current debt after tax.

- .05 x (1 – .2834) = Cost of debt after tax

The cost of debt after tax for 3M is *3.58%*

**Cost of Equity or R Equity =** Risk Free Rate + Beta Equity (Average Market Return – Risk Free Rate)

The cost of equity is the return a firm theoretically pays to its equity investors (for example, shareholders) to compensate for the risk they undertake by investing in their company.

- Risk Free Rate = U.S. 10-year bond = 2.71% (Bloomberg)
- Average Market Return 1950 – 2013 = 7%
- Beta = (Google Finance) 3M’s Beta = 0.91

Risk Free Rate + Beta Equity (Average Market Return – Risk Free Rate)

- 2.71 + 0.91 (7 – 2.71)
- 2.71 + 0.91 x 4.29
- 2.71 + 3.90 = 6.61%

Currently, 3M has a cost of equity or R equity of 6.61%, so investors should expect to get a return of 6.61% per-year average over the long term on their investment to compensate for the risk they undertake by investing in this company.

(*Please note that this is the CAPM approach to finding the cost of equity. Inherently, there are some flaws with this approach and that the numbers are very “general.” This approach is based off of the S&P average return from 1950-2013 at 7%, the U.S. 10-year bond for the risk-free rate, which is susceptible to daily change and Google Finance beta.*)

**Weighted Average Cost of Capital, or WACC**

The WACC calculation is a calculation of a company’s cost of capital in which each category of capital is equally weighted. All capital sources such as common stock, preferred stock, bonds and all other long-term debt are included in this calculation. As the WACC of a firm increases, and the beta and rate of return on equity increases, this is an indicator of a decrease in valuation and a higher risk.

By taking the weighted average, we can see how much interest the company has to pay for every dollar it finances. For this calculation, you will need to know the following listed below:

Tax Rate = 28.34%

Cost of Debt (before tax) or R debt = 5%

Cost of Equity or R equity = 6.61%,

Debt (Total Liabilities) for 2013 TTM or D = $16.301 billion

Stock Price = $121.40 (Oct. 15, 2013)

Outstanding Shares = 683.47 million

Equity = Stock price x Outstanding Shares or E = $82.973 billion

Debt + Equity or D+E = $99.274 billion

WACC = R = (1 – Tax Rate) x R debt (D/D+E) + R equity (E/D+E)

(1 – Tax Rate) x R debt (D/D+E) + R equity (E/D+E)

(1 – .2834) x .05 x ($16.301 /$99.274) + .0661 ($82.973 /$99.274)

.7166 x .05 x .1642 + .0661 x .8358

.0058 + .0552

= 6.1%

Based on the calculations above, we can conclude that 3M pays 6.1% on every dollar that it finances, or 6.1 cents on every dollar. From this calculation, we understand that on every dollar the company spends on an investment, the company must make $.061 plus the cost of the investment for the investment to be feasible for the company.

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