Distributed To Paid-In Capital

Updated on May 28, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAaron Crowe
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Distributed To Paid-In Capital (DPI)?

Distribution to Paid-In Capital (DPI) is a tool that measures the total capital a private equity fund has returned to its investors so far. It is also known as the realization multiple. It aims to estimate the extent to which the investors have received returns on their investment thus far.

Distribution To Paid-In Capital

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If a fund’s DPI ratio equals 1, the returned distributions to the investors are equivalent to their paid-in capital. A DPI ratio of more than 1 suggests that the fund has returned all the original paid-in capital and more. Conversely, a low DPI ratio implies that the fund has failed to return the paid-in capital amount to its investors.

Key Takeaways

  • Distribution to Paid-In Capital (DPI) is a financial instrument for measuring the returns on the total capital that private equity fund investors have received so far. It helps calculate the degree to which the investors have received a return on the invested amount.
  • A higher DPI ratio indicates that the investment has generated sufficient returns. At the same time, a lower DPI suggests that the investment could not receive enough returns concerning the amount invested.
  • The DPI ratio helps assess an investment’s liquidity and cash flow.

Distributed To Paid-In Capital Explained 

Distribution To Paid-In Capital is a financial measure of the total capital returns that private equity fund investors have received thus far. It is a transaction where a company transfers funds from its capital surplus or accumulated earnings to its paid-in capital account. This process adjusts the company’s capital structure or returns excess capital to shareholders. It helps assess the level of returns the investment generated for the investors.

Paid-In capital is the amount of money, the shareholders have invested in a company in exchange for its shares. When a company decides to distribute to paid-in capital, it reduces its accumulated earnings or capital surplus and increases the value of the shareholder’s equity.

Shareholders may benefit from the PDI in several ways. For instance, increased paid-in capital can enhance the company’s financial stability and improve its ability to attract investors. Additionally, it can increase the stock value, making shareholders’ investments more valuable. Furthermore, the distribution may enhance the liquidity of the company’s stocks and lead to increased dividend payouts to shareholders.

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The distribution to the paid-in capital formula is as follows:

Distribution To Paid-In Capital

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Cumulative Distribution represents the total of all the distributions to date, and

Paid-in Capital signifies the total capital contributed to the fund by the investors.


Let us study the following example to understand this concept:

Suppose a group of investors opened a private equity fund. After four years of opening, the investors have contributed a total of $100 million. The fund has distributed $20 million to the investors from the realized deals.

Following the distribution to paid-in capital formulathe DIP ratio for the 4th year can is as follows:

DPI = 20/100

      = 0.2

Thus, this ratio shows that at the end of the fourth year, the fund has returned 20% of the capital the investors have paid so far.

Pros And Cons 

The distributed to paid-in capital pros are:

  • A company can adjust its capital structure to align with its strategic goals by distributing the paid-in capital. It enables the company to optimize its financial position by reducing accumulated earnings or capital surplus and increasing the value of paid-in capital.
  • If a company has accumulated a surplus of funds more than its immediate operational and investment needs, it can distribute that excess capital to shareholders. This distribution provides a way to return value to shareholders and can be seen as a reward for their investment in the company.
  • It can increase the overall value of the shareholders’ equity. A company can enhance shareholders’ ownership stake by raising the paid-in capital. It helps boosts the stock price and leads to an increase in shareholder wealth.
  • Adjusting the capital structure through DPI can improve the financial stability of a company. It can help align the company’s financial position with its goals and objectives, enhance its ability to attract investors and provide a basis for future growth and expansion.

Some DPI cons are:

  • This process involves transferring funds from accumulated earnings or capital surplus. It reduces the company’s retained earnings. Thus, it might impact the company’s ability to reinvest in the business, fund future growth initiatives, or navigate financial challenges.
  • It can alter the financial ratios and metrics that investors, creditors, and analysts use to assess a company’s financial health.
  • It can set expectations among shareholders for future distributions or dividends. If a company cannot sustain or increase allocations over time, it may disappoint investors and impact stock performance.
  • An excess DPI can lead to an imbalanced capital structure. If a company distributes too much capital, it may face difficulties raising additional funds for future investments or operational needs.

Difference Between DPI vs TVPI 

 The differences are:

  • DPI: The distribution to paid-in capital (DPI) measures the ratio of cash distributions investors receive to the total capital invested in a private equity fund. It is calculated by dividing the total cash distributions by the total capital contributed by investors. The DPI aims to measure the extent to which investors have received a return on their investment. A ratio greater than 1 indicates that investors have received more cash distributions than they initially invested. DPI is specifically beneficial for evaluating an investment’s liquidity and cash flow. It helps investors understand how much of their initial investment has been returned through distributions. A low DPI ratio may indicate that the fund’s investments have not yet generated significant returns.
  • TVPI: Total Value to Paid-In Capital (TVPI) measures the total value of an investment, including realized and unrealized gains related to the total capital invested. It is calculated by dividing the total value of the investment by the total capital investors contribute. TVPI considers the current value of the investment portfolio, including unrealized gains or losses, and provides a comprehensive view of the investment’s performance. It helps investors assess the overall profitability of their investment, including any potential increase in the value of unrealized holdings. A TVPI ratio greater than 1 indicates that the investment has generated positive returns, while a ratio less than 1 suggests that the investment has underperformed concerning the capital invested.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can distributions reduce paid-in capital?

No, distributions cannot reduce the paid-in capital. When a company issues a cash dividend to its stakeholders, the funds get deducted from its retained earnings. As a result, there is no impact on the additional paid-in capital.

2. What does a DPI ratio of less than 1 indicate?

If the DPI ratio is less than 1, it indicates that the investors have received fewer cash distributions than the total capital they had initially invested. It suggests the investment has not yet generated sufficient returns to return the investors’ original capital fully. This can occur when the investments within the fund have not recovered at a level that enables significant cash distributions to investors.

3. Can DPI be negative?

DPI can be negative if the total cash distributions the investors receive are less than the total capital contributed. However, a negative DPI is rare and usually occurs in specific situations where investments underperform significantly. As a result, investors face a loss in capital. It suggests that the investment has failed to generate enough returns and resulted in a net capital loss for the investors.

This has been a guide to what is Distributed To Paid-In Capital. Here, we explain its formula, example, pros, cons, and compare it with TVPI. You can learn more about it from the following articles –

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