Project Finance Metrics 101: Cash Flow Available for Debt Service (CFADS)

Calculating finances

In the fourth installment of Banyan Infrastructure’s latest blog series, Project Finance Metrics 101, we will dive into a crucial metric that keeps track of a project’s ability to repay its debt: Cash Flow Available for Debt Service (CFADS).  

Cash Flow Available for Debt Service (CFADS) Explained

Cash Flow Available for Debt Service (CFADS) represents the amount of money within a project’s cash flow that is available to utilize for its debt payments. This is a critical metric for evaluating the cash sufficiency of a project after operational expenses and taxes are covered and before any debt payments are made. You can calculate CFADS with this formula:

CFADS = Net Operating Income + Depreciation - Taxes

This formula returns the available cash flow and demonstrates the project's operational efficiency and financial discipline.

The Importance of CFADS in Project Finance

Loan Servicing Capability

Lenders use CFADS to determine a project's capability to service its debt. A strong CFADS score often leads borrowers to achieve more favorable loan terms, including reduced interest rates and better repayment schedules.

Financial Stability Indicator

CFADS is a direct indicator of a project's financial health, describing its ability to generate sufficient cash to cover its debt obligations. A high CFADS signifies better financial health and a lower risk of default.

Risk Assessment and Management

Project managers regularly monitor CFADS to identify financial stress early and implement strategies to improve cash flows to manage a project’s debts better.

Boosting Investor Confidence

Investors look for strong CFADS figures when determining reliable and profitable projects, so keeping this value up can enhance investment appeal and facilitate capital acquisition.

Challenges in Maintaining Optimal CFADS

Economic and Operational Adjustments: Market influences such as economic downturns, regulatory changes, or operational issues (e.g., supply chain disruptions) can impact CFADS. By having a strategy in place, with digitized documents and organized data architecture, projects can be agile and adapt to such changes.

Forecasting Accuracy: Precisely predicting cash flows requires considering potential operational and market variables and is vital for maintaining a strong CFADS. With streamlined systems, asset managers can maintain a comprehensive understanding of the factors that could impact financial performance.

Leveraging Technology for Proactive Metric Management

In project finance, maintaining a strong CFADS is crucial for sustained success. By ensuring a project’s debt servicing capabilities, project managers can enhance their credibility and investment attractiveness. Combined with other metrics like the Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR), CFADS provides a detailed view of a project’s financial robustness, which is crucial for long-term sustainability and success in the competitive landscape of sustainable infrastructure project finance. By leveraging a digital solution like Banyan Infrastructure, project managers can track and optimize these crucial metrics to ensure their projects’ success and their portfolios’ growth.

Stay tuned to our blog series "Project Finance Metrics 101" to gain deeper insights into the metrics that drive successful project finance, such as IRR and Cash Flow Waterfall.