In corporate finance, free cash flow (FCF) or free cash flow to firm (FCFF) is a way of looking at a business’s cash flow to see what is available for distribution among all the securities holders of a corporate entity. This may be useful to parties such as equity holders, debt holders, preferred stock holders, and convertible security holders when they want to see how much cash can be extracted from a company without causing issues to its operations.
Free cash flow can be calculated in various ways, depending on audience and available data. A common measure is to take the earnings before interest and taxes multiplied by (1 − tax rate), add depreciation and amortization, and then subtract changes in working capital and capital expenditure. Depending on the audience, a number of refinements and adjustments may also be made to try to eliminate distortions.
Free cash flow may be different from net income, as free cash flow takes into account the purchase of capital goods and changes in working capital.
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