Retained Earnings Breakpoint

Retained earning breakpoint is the level of capital that the company can raise without issuing new common stock. It is the highest point company can raise capital before changing the capital structure. We will require to issue additional common stock when the company exceeds this point. It means that the company will covert the remaining retained earnings to raise the fund, it will not impact the percentage of current shareholders as the retained earnings consist of all shareholder percentages.

When we change the equity structure, the existing shareholders will lose control over the company as we have to give up some percentage for new shareholders. Moreover, it will impact our cost of capital as well. By using the retained earnings, the company will use the previous profit to finance new projects which is also known as an equity investment. This money supposes to transfer to shareholders in terms of dividends, but the company uses it to invest for more profit in the future. At the same time, it also increases the share price as well.

A company’s retained earnings breakpoint is the point at which the cost of capital for new debt becomes equal to the cost of equity. The company uses this breakpoint to help determine its optimal capital structure, which is the mix of debt and equity that minimizes the cost of capital. Reducing the cost of capital is a major focus for companies, as it enables them to invest more in new projects and growth opportunities. By establishing a retained earnings breakpoint, companies can ensure that they are making decisions that will maximize shareholder value by minimizing the cost of capital.

The retained earnings breakpoint is an important one for companies seeking to raise new capital without altering their target capital structure. In essence, the retained earnings breakpoint represents the amount of new capital that companies can raise without having to tap into other sources of funding, such as debt or equity.

Retained Earning Breakpoint Formula

R/E Breakpoint = Retained Earning / We

We: is the percentage of equity in the capital structure.


Company ABC has made a profit of $ 2,000,000 during the year and there is no dividend paid. The company wants to keep the capital structure of 60% in debt and 40% in equity. Please calculate the retain earning breakpoint.

Retain Earning Breakpoint = 2,000,000 / 40% = $ 5,000,000

It means that the company can raise funds of $ 5,000,000 without issuing new common stock. If the management wishes to raise more than this amount, it will impact the capital structure. They can raise by issuing new common stock or debt, both methods will increase the company’s WACC.

What is Retained Earning?

Retained earnings are the portion of a company’s profit that is not distributed to shareholders as dividends. This profit is instead reinvested back into the business, which can help to finance new projects or expand the operation. Retained earnings can also be used to pay down debt or build up cash reserves. While retained earnings can be a useful source of funds for companies, they can also be a source of contention among shareholders. Some shareholders may feel that they are entitled to a larger portion of the company’s profits, and they may object to the decision to reinvest them back into the business. As a result, it is important for companies to carefully consider how they use their retained earnings.

The percentage of earnings that a company retains can vary, but stable companies tend to have lower retention ratios than newly-established companies. This is often because stable companies do not require as much capital reinvestment as newer firms. Regardless of the size or age of a company, retaining some earnings is critical to ensuring its long-term health and growth. By reinvesting profits back into the business, companies can maintain their operations, fund new projects, and build up their reserves. In this way, retained earnings play an important role in ensuring a company’s continued success.


A company’s retained earnings represent its accumulated profits after distributing dividends to shareholders. The retained earnings breakpoint is the point at which a company can no longer raise additional capital without altering its capital structure. Once a company exceeds this point, it will need to raise new capital through either debt or equity. This additional capital can cause an increase in the weighted average cost of capital. The retained earnings breakpoint is therefore an important consideration for companies when making decisions about how to finance their operations.