How to calculate asset beta

Asset beta, by definition, reflects the beta of a company without debt. It is sometimes referred to as unlevered beta. For some companies, there are financial benefits to adding debt to the company. Using asset beta allows the evaluation of the volatility of a company's stock without this debt benefit. By reviewing the unlevered beta, you will have a better idea of the market risk of a company's stock.

Use Yahoo! Finance or Google Finance to obtain a specific company's beta. For either site, enter the company's name or stock symbol to bring up that company's stock data. In Yahoo! Finance, click on "Key Statistics". Click on "Beta", which is listed on the right under "Trading Information". In Google Finance, the beta is listed in the right-hand column of numbers above the graph.

Calculate the company's debt to equity ratio by dividing its debt by its equity. These numbers can be found on the company's balance sheet. For example, if a company has total long term debt of £13,000,000 and total shareholder equity of £16,250,000, then the debt to equity ratio is £13,000,000/$25,000,000, which equals .80.

Calculate the company's tax rate by dividing the income tax paid by net income before taxes. These numbers can be found on the company's income statement. For example, if the income tax paid was £650,000 and the net income before taxes was £1,950,000, then the company's tax rate is £650,000/$3,000,000, which equals .33.

Calculate the asset beta using the following equation:

Asset beta = B/(1+(1-T)*(R)), where "B" is the company's beta, "T" is the tax rate and "R" is the debt to equity ratio.

Using the above examples and a company beta of .7, the asset beta is .7/((1+1-.33)(.8)). Therefore, .7/((1.66)(.8)), then .7/1.336, which equals .52.

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Things Needed

  • Calculator
  • Company's financial report

About the Author

Diane Stevens' professional experience started in 1970 with a computer programming position. Beginning in 1985, running her own business gave her extensive experience in personal and business finance. Her writing appears on Orbitz's Travel Blog and other websites. Stevens holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from the State University of New York at Albany.

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