# How to calculate free cash flow growth rate

Learn how to calculate free cash flow growth rate and understand why it is important for businesses.

## How to Calculate Free Cash Flow Growth Rate

Understanding how to calculate the free cash flow growth rate is essential for investors, analysts, and business managers alike. Free cash flow is a measure of a company’s financial health, indicating how much cash is available for reinvestment, debt reduction, or dividend payouts. By calculating the free cash flow growth rate, you can evaluate the company’s ability to generate cash over time and make informed decisions about its future prospects.

### Step 1: Understand the Concept of Free Cash Flow

Before calculating the growth rate of free cash flow, it is important to understand what free cash flow is. Free cash flow is the cash available to a company after accounting for capital expenditures, which are expenses related to the acquisition or maintenance of physical assets like buildings, equipment or machinery, and investments in working capital like inventory or accounts receivable. In other words, free cash flow is the amount of cash generated by a company’s operations that is not needed to maintain or grow the business.

### Step 2: Gather Financial Data

In order to calculate the growth rate of free cash flow, you will need to gather financial data from the company’s financial statements. You will need to know the company’s net income, capital expenditures, and changes in working capital for the period in question. This data can typically be found on the company’s statement of cash flows or income statement.

### Step 3: Calculate Free Cash Flow

Once you have the necessary financial data, you can calculate free cash flow using the formula: Free Cash Flow = Operating Cash Flow - Capital Expenditures. Operating cash flow is the cash generated by a company’s normal business operations, while capital expenditures are the funds used to acquire or maintain physical assets. This calculation will give you the amount of cash available to the company after accounting for capital expenditures.

### Step 4: Calculate Free Cash Flow Growth Rate

To calculate the growth rate of free cash flow, you will need to compare the free cash flow from the current period to the free cash flow from the previous period. You can use the formula: Free Cash Flow Growth Rate = ((Current Free Cash Flow - Previous Free Cash Flow) / Previous Free Cash Flow) x 100%. This calculation will give you the percentage increase or decrease in free cash flow from one period to the next.

### Step 5: Use the Growth Rate to Make Decisions

The growth rate of free cash flow can be used to make decisions about a company’s financial health and future prospects. A high growth rate may indicate that the company is generating more cash than it needs to reinvest in its business, which could be a sign of financial strength. On the other hand, a low or negative growth rate may indicate that the company is struggling to generate cash, which could be a sign of financial weakness.

### Step 6: Consider Other Factors

While the growth rate of free cash flow is an important metric for businesses, it should not be the only factor considered when making decisions. Other factors such as the company’s industry, market conditions, and management team should also be taken into account when evaluating a company’s financial health and future prospects.

### Conclusion

Calculating the growth rate of free cash flow is an important tool for businesses and investors to evaluate a company’s financial health and future prospects. By understanding the concept of free cash flow, gathering financial data, and using the formula to calculate free cash flow growth rate, you can make informed decisions about a company’s financial prospects. However, it is important to consider other factors as well, such as industry trends and management team, when evaluating a company’s financial health.

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