What is a capital expenditure (CapEx)?

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Definition of capital expenditure

Capital expenditure (capex) is one of two types of expenses that are central to financial decision making and analysis. Expenses are the use of a company’s capital to finance business activities and decisions. Capital expenditures are for the purchase, acquisition or maintenance of fixed or physical assets held for a period of more than one year, which are used for growth or expansion.

How to calculate CAPEX and the CAPEX formula

To calculate CAPEX, there are two methods using a company’s financial statements. The first method is based on the cash flow statement. In the invested cash section of the statement, capital expenditures are listed as a single line (see the DIS cash flow statement below):

Figure 1

Cash flow statement for (DIS) The Walt Disney Company

DIS Cash flow statement Cash flow from investing activities

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The second method uses data from the income statement and balance sheet and applies the following formula:

Capital Expenditure = Fixed Assets (Year 2) – Fixed Assets (Year 1) + Depreciation

Property, plant and equipment is the item that represents the value of property, plant and equipment for a given year. Depreciation is a non-cash item, which is used in the accounting calculation but is not money spent (i.e. it does not actually leave the business but is simply amortized) , it must therefore be added back to the repurchase value of net property, plant and equipment. assets.

Types of capital expenditure

You can think of capital expenditures (capex) as long-term, less frequent uses (uses) of capital. For example, the costs of purchasing a new building, acquiring a competing business, expanding into a new market, or adding technology to create a new product or service could be considered a capital expenditure. Capital expenditures are generally larger, require longer planning and execution, and carry more risk. These should be distinguished from operating expenses (opex) which are current expenses directly used in operations or production, such as payments to suppliers for supplies, rent or utility payments, insurance or expenses weekly wages for production workers. It helps to think about expenses like you would as a household. There are day-to-day expenses (like rent, groceries, and car insurance) that meet our current needs and current goals for living and working on a daily basis. We also have long-term needs and goals (like buying or renovating a house, buying a car, etc.) that allow us to build the resources necessary to grow and progress.

Capital Expenses vs. Operating Expenses

The short-term and long-term distinctions apply to a business organization and can be useful in classifying capital expenditures for operations and capital expenditures for growth. Ongoing operating expenses are usually used in production, while one-time and infrequent expenses are usually capital expenses. The following lists compare an operating expense and a capital expense:

Functionnary costs

  • Rent/lease payments
  • Insurance
  • Payments to Suppliers
  • Production expenses
  • Utilities/Subscriptions
  • Employee payroll/benefits

Capital expenditure

  • Property purchase
  • Purchase of material
  • Acquisition of a competitor or supplier
  • Expansion of production
  • Technology upgrades
  • Construction of a wellness center

CapEx negative vs positive

Capital expenditures are key indicators of the efficiency of the use of capital which can positively or negatively affect margins (i.e. profit on product). Capital expenditures can indicate a company’s potential for commitment to future business growth or expansion. It is therefore necessary to understand what a negative capex or a positive capex amount would indicate to an analyst or an investor.

On the cash flow statement, it is important to understand that negative numbers indicate that money is leaving the business (i.e. a down payment). In the case of capital expenditure, if there is a significant amount of money leaving the business, since it is a capital investment, this could indicate that the business has spent a significant amount of money on invest in long-term assets. It could indicate an aggressive plan for a future expansion, a major project, or a major upgrade in new technologies. Spending on investing activities, while negative on the cash flow statement as capital expenditure, can be positive indicators of a company’s future growth potential.

In contrast, when investing cash flow balances are positive in the statement of cash flows, indicating cash inflows, this may be the result of a business selling investments or (disposed of) fixed assets. which have not yet been replaced by new assets. Such divestitures may not be a good signal for the company in the long term, if they hinder the growth or the maintenance of the business activities of the company. It’s important for investors to analyze and interpret what the data says about what’s happening within the company and the decisions executives are making to use capital effectively.

What capital expenditure means for investors

Understanding capex allows investors to assess a company’s management of corporate capital. More importantly, it helps investors assess accountability and responsibility for visioning and executing financial decisions that impact an organization’s profitability. Investors can assess how managers are using capital for future growth. By evaluating financial statement data, such as capital expenditures on a balance sheet and depreciation on an income statement, investors can see if and how a company is acquiring long-lived assets. They can assess whether the value of the assets increases thanks to the additionswhich one could indicate to investors that a company has plans or plans to expand operations and is using current cash flow for this purpose. If investors look at a cash flow statement and see negative cash flow in the investing section of the cash flow statement, it implies that current cash flow is being spent on a long-term investment.

Investors as individuals understand that good management of short-term expenses allows them to take advantage of and participate in investment opportunities that will lead to long-term accumulation of wealth. For investors, a company’s ability to effectively manage short-term operational expenses and manage the risk and return of capital expenditures impacts the long-term value of the company. Understanding concepts such as capital expenditure is a crucial skill component that allows investors to better understand a company’s activities, but more importantly, to understand how those activities can impact shareholder wealth.

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