In capital budgeting, hurdle rate is the minimum rate that a company expects to earn when investing in a project. Hence the hurdle rate is also referred to as the company's required rate of return or target rate. In order for a project to be accepted, its internal rate of return must equal or exceed the hurdle rate.
The hurdle rate is also used to discount a project's cash flows in the calculation of net present value.
The minimum hurdle rate is usually the company's cost of capital (a blend of the cost of debt and the cost of equity). However, the hurdle rate will be increased for projects with greater risk and when the company has an abundance of investment opportunities.
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