It’s important to understand that residual income doesn’t have the same meaning for equity valuation as it does for personal finance. That’s because it doesn’t entail leftover cash, or so-called disposable income, but it has to do with the income that a company generates, after accounting for capital costs, according either to CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model), or APT (Arbitrage Pricing Theory). In other words, residual income valuation is the money the company is likely to be left with, once it covers opportunity costs (or risk costs), relative to the book value of Shareholders’ equity. Bear in mind that firms have no legal obligation to compensate shareholders, like they do for bondholders. However, without this form of compensation for the risk they’re taking with their investment, it’s unlikely they will attract investors. Here’s all of the above, laid out in a plain math formula:
Speaking from our own experience, you can’t be a passive McDonald’s franchisee. Every McDonald’s potential franchisee will need to complete at least thousands of hours of training before he/she would be approved to acquire a franchise and only if he/she has the financial resources to acquire a franchise. It could take years before one would get a single store franchise. Until the franchisee eventually has acquired multiple stores and established his/her own management team, the franchisee would have to put his/her nose to the grindstone and work his/her ass off every day. I won’t call it a passive investment by any stretch of imagination.
As an economic concept, residual income has a long history, dating back to Alfred Marshall in the late 1800s.1 As far back as the 1920s, General Motors used the concept in evaluating business segments.2 More recently, residual income has received renewed attention and interest, sometimes under names such as economic profit, abnormal earnings, or economic value added. Although residual income concepts have been used in a variety of contexts, including the measurement of internal corporate performance, this reading will focus on the residual income model for estimating the intrinsic value of common stock. Among the questions we will study to help us apply residual income models are the following:
Residual income is calculated as net income less a charge for the cost of capital. The charge is known as the equity charge and is calculated as the value of equity capital multiplied by the cost of equity or the required rate of return on equity. Given the opportunity cost of equity, a company can have positive net income but negative residual income.