# What is Capitalization of Earnings?

## Capitalization of Earnings

Capitalization of earnings is a valuation method used to estimate the value of a business, a business ownership interest, or shares of a company. This method calculates the business value by capitalizing its expected future earnings or cash flow, which is then divided by a capitalization rate. The capitalization rate reflects the risk associated with the investment and the required rate of return an investor would expect for investing in the business.

The capitalization of earnings method is particularly useful for valuing mature, stable companies with predictable earnings or cash flows. It is based on the assumption that the company’s earnings will remain relatively consistent in the future.

The formula for capitalization of earnings is as follows:

Business Value = Earnings / Capitalization Rate

Where:

• Earnings: This is the company’s expected future earnings or cash flow, which can be based on historical earnings, projected future earnings, or a combination of both.
• Capitalization Rate: This is the rate at which the earnings are capitalized, representing the required rate of return for an investor considering the investment’s risk. It is calculated by subtracting the expected growth rate of the company from the investor’s required rate of return.

It’s important to note that the capitalization of earnings method has some limitations. It may not be suitable for valuing companies with fluctuating or unpredictable earnings or those experiencing rapid growth. Additionally, this method relies on the accuracy of the earnings and capitalization rate estimates, which can be subjective and may vary depending on the analyst’s assumptions and judgment.

## Example of Capitalization of Earnings

Let’s consider a fictional example of a small, stable manufacturing company called “SteadyTools Inc.” to illustrate the capitalization of earnings method.

SteadyTools Inc. has an average annual net income of \$500,000 over the past few years, and this level of earnings is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. An investor is considering acquiring the company and has determined their required rate of return to be 15% based on the risk associated with the investment. The investor also expects the company’s earnings to grow at a rate of 3% per year.

Now let’s use the capitalization of earnings method to estimate the value of SteadyTools Inc.

1. First, calculate the capitalization rate: Capitalization Rate = Required Rate of Return – Expected Growth Rate = 15% – 3% = 12%
2. Next, use the formula to determine the business value: Business Value = Earnings / Capitalization Rate = \$500,000 / 0.12 = \$4,166,667

Based on the capitalization of earnings method, the estimated value of SteadyTools Inc. is \$4,166,667. This valuation assumes that the company’s earnings will remain relatively stable and grow at a rate of 3% per year, and the investor requires a 15% rate of return to justify the investment’s risk.

Keep in mind that the capitalization of earnings method relies on several assumptions, and the accuracy of the valuation depends on the accuracy of these assumptions. Additionally, this method may not be suitable for valuing companies with volatile or unpredictable earnings or those experiencing rapid growth. It’s essential to consider other valuation methods and perform a comprehensive analysis when evaluating a business or investment opportunity.