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The internal growth rate (IGR) is a financial metric used to calculate the maximum sustainable growth rate of a company without the need for external financing. It is also known as the sustainable growth rate or intrinsic growth rate.

What is the formula for computing the internal growth rate (igr)?
What is the formula for computing the internal growth rate (igr)?

Formula for Computing IGR

The formula for computing the Internal Growth Rate is:

IGR = Retention Ratio x Return on Equity

Or, in other words:

IGR = (Net Income – Dividends) / Total Equity


Retention Ratio = Percentage of net income that is retained by the company for reinvestment purposes.

Return on Equity = The percentage return earned by shareholders on their investment in the company.

This formula takes into account two important factors for calculating the IGR – profitability and retention rate. Profitability is measured by the return on equity, which shows how efficiently a company is using its shareholders’ funds to generate returns. The retention ratio, on the other hand, tells us how much of the profits are being reinvested back into the company for future growth.

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Understanding IGR

The Internal Growth Rate is an important metric for companies as it helps them determine the maximum growth rate they can sustain without having to seek external financing. This is significant because external financing, whether through debt or equity, comes at a cost and can have an impact on the company’s profitability.

By calculating the IGR, companies can assess their financial health and make informed decisions regarding their growth strategy. If a company’s IGR is lower than its desired growth rate, it may need to seek external financing to achieve its growth goals. On the other hand, if a company’s IGR is higher than its desired growth rate, it can continue growing without needing additional funding.

Factors Affecting IGR

There are several factors that can impact a company’s IGR:

  1. Profitability – As mentioned earlier, profitability is a key factor in calculating the IGR. A company with high profitability will have a higher IGR compared to a company with lower profitability.
  2. Retention Ratio – The higher the retention ratio, the more profits are being reinvested back into the company for future growth. This results in a higher IGR.
  3. Dividend Policy – The amount of dividends paid out to shareholders also affects the IGR. A higher dividend payment reduces the retained earnings and, in turn, lowers the IGR.
  4. Capital Structure – Companies with a high level of debt may have lower IGRs due to the cost of servicing their debt. On the other hand, companies with low levels of debt may have higher IGRs as they have more funds available for reinvestment.
  5. Economic Conditions – Economic conditions can also impact a company’s IGR. During economic downturns, companies may have to rely on external financing as their profitability and cash flows may be affected.

Importance of IGR

The Internal Growth Rate is an important metric for both investors and companies. For investors, the IGR provides insights into a company’s potential for growth without needing external financing. A higher IGR is generally seen as favorable as it indicates that the company can continue growing without diluting shareholder value.

For companies, the IGR helps in strategic planning and decision-making. By knowing their maximum sustainable growth rate, companies can set realistic goals and assess their need for external funding. This can also help companies in managing their capital structure and optimizing their dividend policy.

Limitations of IGR

While the Internal Growth Rate is a useful metric, it does have its limitations:

  1. Assumes Constant Variables – The formula for calculating IGR assumes that all variables such as profitability, retention ratio, and economic conditions will remain constant. In reality, these factors may fluctuate, making the IGR calculation less accurate.
  2. Does not account for all sources of financing – The formula only takes into account internal sources of funding and does not consider external financing options such as debt or equity.
  3. Not applicable for all companies – Companies with negative earnings or low return on equity may have a negative IGR or an IGR that is lower than their desired growth rate. In such cases, the formula for calculating IGR may not be suitable.


The Internal Growth Rate is a valuable financial metric that helps companies and investors understand a company’s potential for growth without external financing. By taking into account profitability and retention ratio, it provides insights into a company’s financial health and its ability to sustain growth. However, it is important to keep in mind the limitations of this metric and use it in conjunction with other financial ratios for a more comprehensive analysis. Therefore, companies should carefully consider their IGR when making strategic decisions and investors can use it as a tool for evaluating potential investments.

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