Financial Growth: The Power of Accretive Investments and Acquisitions


Accretive refers to gradual or incremental growth, commonly used in both corporate and general finance. In corporate finance, it describes acquisitions that add more value to a company than their costs, often due to favorable asset pricing. This article delves into the concept of accretive, its applications, and examples in both finance sectors.

Understanding accretive

Accretive, derived from the word “accretion,” signifies gradual or incremental growth. This term finds widespread use in finance, encompassing both corporate finance and general finance.

Accretive in corporate finance

In corporate finance, “accretive” characterizes acquisitions or deals that contribute more value to a company than the expenses incurred in the transaction. This typically occurs when the acquired assets are priced at a discount to their perceived current market value or are expected to grow in value following the acquisition.

Accretive acquisitions are favorable for companies as they enhance metrics like earnings per share (EPS) and shareholder value. For instance, if Corporation X with an EPS of $100 acquires Corporation Y with an EPS of $50, resulting in an EPS of $150 post-acquisition, it is considered a 50% accretive deal.


Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

  • Enhanced earnings per share (EPS).
  • Increased shareholder value.
  • Potential for accelerated growth.
  • Integration challenges.
  • Risk of overvaluation.

Accretive in general finance

General finance applies the term “accretive” to describe the change in the price of bonds or securities, particularly those acquired at a discount. When referring to fixed-income investments, accretion represents the increase in value attributable to interest accrued but not yet paid.

For example, discounted bonds earn interest through accretion until they mature. This means that if a bond is purchased at a discount compared to its face value (par), its value gradually increases over time based on the agreed-upon interest rate.

Determining the rate of accretion:

The rate of accretion can be calculated by dividing the discount by the number of years in the bond’s term. Zero-coupon bonds, however, do not involve interest accrual and are purchased at a discount, paying out the accreted value in a lump sum upon maturity.

Examples of accretion:

Suppose an individual buys a bond with a face value of $1,000 for $750, intending to hold it for 10 years. This deal is considered accretive because the bond pays out the initial investment plus interest. Depending on the bond type, interest may be paid periodically or as a lump sum at maturity.

Zero-coupon bonds, on the other hand, don’t accrue interest but are bought at a discount, such as a $750 investment for a bond with a $1,000 face value. These bonds pay the accreted value of $1,000 in a lump sum upon maturity.

Accretive vs. dilutive

It’s crucial to note that the opposite of “accretive” is “dilutive.” A dilutive deal reduces a corporation’s earnings per share value, often leading to shareholder dissatisfaction and a decrease in stock price.

Accretive investments

In general finance, accretive investments encompass a broad range of securities and assets that are purchased at a discount to their intrinsic or expected value. These investments offer the potential for capital appreciation and can be found in various financial instruments:

1. Accretive stock purchases

Accretive stock purchases involve acquiring shares of a company’s stock at a price lower than their perceived intrinsic value. This can occur when market conditions undervalue a company due to short-term challenges or external factors. Investors often seek accretive stock purchases as they anticipate the stock’s value to rise in the future, resulting in capital gains.

2. Accretive real estate transactions

In the real estate sector, accretive transactions refer to buying properties or real estate assets at prices below their market or income potential. For instance, purchasing a commercial property at a discounted rate with the expectation of increasing rental income or improving the property’s value can make the transaction accretive. Real estate investors often use this strategy to boost their portfolio’s returns.

Accretive vs. dilutive in corporate finance

Understanding the distinction between accretive and dilutive transactions is crucial for corporate financial decision-making:

1. Evaluating accretive acquisitions

When a company contemplates an acquisition, it assesses whether the deal will be accretive or dilutive to its financial metrics, such as earnings per share (EPS) and return on investment (ROI). An accretive acquisition is one where the target company’s assets or operations will enhance the acquiring company’s profitability and shareholder value.

2. Identifying dilutive deals

Conversely, a dilutive deal negatively impacts a company’s financial health by decreasing EPS or diluting the ownership stake of existing shareholders. Dilutive transactions are often associated with overpriced acquisitions, excessive debt burdens, or integration challenges that erode the value of the combined entity.

Accretive strategies in fixed-income investments

Accretion is a fundamental concept in the world of fixed-income investments, influencing various strategies:

1. Zero-coupon bonds and accretion

Zero-coupon bonds, also known as discount bonds, are prime examples of accretion in fixed-income investments. These bonds are issued at a substantial discount to their face value and do not pay periodic interest. Instead, the accretion process gradually increases their value over time, leading to a lump-sum payout at maturity.

2. Callable bonds and accretion

Callable bonds are another category where accretion comes into play. Investors may hold callable bonds that have the potential for early redemption by the issuer. The accretion rate of callable bonds can vary based on market conditions and the issuer’s decision to call the bond before maturity.

Accretive investments in practice

Let’s delve into practical scenarios where accretive investments have played a significant role:

1. Warren Buffett’s accretive stock purchases

Renowned investor Warren Buffett is known for making accretive stock purchases in undervalued companies. For example, his investment in Coca-Cola in the late 1980s is considered accretive, as the stock’s value appreciated significantly over time, resulting in substantial gains for Berkshire Hathaway, his investment company.

2. Real estate developers and accretive transactions

Real estate developers often seek accretive transactions to boost their profit margins. For instance, a developer may acquire a vacant property in a developing neighborhood, renovate it, and lease it out at higher rental rates, making the investment accretive as rental income increases and property value appreciates.


Accretive plays a vital role in assessing the impact of acquisitions and the value of fixed-income investments in finance. Understanding when a deal or investment is accretive can help companies and investors make informed financial decisions, ultimately contributing to financial growth and success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does “accretive” mean in finance?

In finance, “accretive” refers to gradual or incremental growth in value. It can apply to acquisitions, investments, or the appreciation of assets over time.

How are accretive acquisitions advantageous for companies?

Accretive acquisitions benefit companies by adding more value to the organization than the costs associated with the acquisition. This typically results in enhanced financial metrics and increased shareholder value.

Can you provide an example of an accretive investment in general finance?

An example of an accretive investment in general finance is purchasing a discounted bond. Over time, the bond’s value increases through interest accrual, providing a higher return than the initial investment.

What is the opposite of an accretive transaction?

The opposite of an accretive transaction is a “dilutive” transaction. Dilutive transactions reduce a company’s earnings per share (EPS) or shareholder value and are generally considered unfavorable.

How is the rate of accretion determined for bonds?

The rate of accretion for bonds is calculated by dividing the discount at which the bond was purchased by the number of years until maturity. This determines the gradual increase in the bond’s value over time.

What are the potential risks associated with accretive acquisitions?

Accretive acquisitions can come with integration challenges, especially when merging two companies. There is also a risk of overvaluation, where the perceived benefits of the acquisition do not materialize as expected.

Are there different types of accretion in fixed-income investments?

Yes, there are different types of accretion in fixed-income investments, including regular accretion in bonds with periodic interest payments and zero-coupon bonds that do not involve interest accrual until maturity.

Can individual investors benefit from accretive investments?

Individual investors can benefit from accretive investments, especially when purchasing discounted securities or assets. These investments have the potential to provide higher returns over time, contributing to individual financial growth.

Key takeaways

  • Accretive describes gradual or incremental growth, used in both corporate and general finance.
  • In corporate finance, accretive acquisitions add more value to a company than their costs, often due to favorable asset pricing.
  • In general finance, accretion relates to the increase in value of bonds or securities, especially those acquired at a discount.
  • Accretion can enhance financial metrics like earnings per share (EPS) and shareholder value.
  • The opposite of accretive is dilutive, which reduces a company’s EPS.
View Article Sources
  1. Accretive Health Settles FTC Charges That It Failed to … – Federal Trade Commission
  2. 10-10858 – Estes v. Accretive Health – Content Details – GovInfo
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