IRR How to calculate
The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is the discount rate that makes the net present value (NPV) of a project zero. In other words, it is the expected compound annual rate of return that will be earned on a project or investment.
When calculating IRR, expected cash flows for a project or investment are given and the NPV equals zero. Put another way, the initial cash investment for the beginning period will be equal to the present value of the future cash flows of that investment. (Cost paid = present value of future cash flows, and hence, the net present value = 0).
Once the internal rate of return is determined, it is typically compared to a company’s hurdle rate or cost of capital. If the IRR is greater than or equal to the cost of capital, the company would accept the project as a good investment. (That is, of course, assuming this is the sole basis for the decision).
In reality, there are many other quantitative and qualitative factors that are considered in an investment decision). If the IRR is lower than the hurdle rate, then it would be rejected, if IRR is the only investment consideration.
Under IFRS 16 ‘Leases’, a similar calculation is used to calculate discount rates are used to determine the present value of the lease payments used to measure a lessee’s lease liability. Discount rates are also used to determine lease classification for a lessor and to measure a lessor’s net investment in a lease.
For lessees, the lease payments are required to be discounted using:
- the interest rate implicit in the lease (IRIL), if that rate can be readily determined, or
- the lessee’s incremental borrowing rate (IBR).
For lessors, the discount rate will always be the interest rate implicit in the lease.
The interest rate implicit in the lease is defined in IFRS 16 as ‘the rate of interest that causes the present value of (a) the lease payments and (b) the unguaranteed residual value to equal the sum of (i) the fair value of the underlying asset and (ii) any initial direct costs of the lessor.’
The lessee’s incremental borrowing rate is defined in IFRS 16 as ‘the rate of interest that a lessee would have to pay to borrow over a similar term, and with a similar security, the funds necessary to obtain an asset of a similar value to the right-of-use asset in a similar economic environment’.
The incremental borrowing rate is determined on the commencement date of the lease. As a result, it will incorporate the impact of significant economic events and other changes in circumstances arising between lease inception and commencement.