Debt Ratio Formula, Example, Analysis, Calculator

debt ratio definition

Used in conjunction with other measures of financial health, the debt ratio can help investors determine a company’s risk level. A debt ratio of 30% may be too high for an industry with volatile cash flows, in which most businesses take on little debt. A company with a high debt ratio relative to its peers would probably find it expensive to borrow and could find itself in a crunch if circumstances change. Conversely, a debt level of 40% may be easily manageable for a company in a sector such as utilities, where cash flows are stable and higher debt ratios are the norm. So if a company has total assets of $100 million and total debt of $30 million, its debt ratio is 0.3 or 30%. Is this company in a better financial situation than one with a debt ratio of 40%?

debt ratio definition

A valid critique of this ratio is that the proportion of assets financed by non-financial liabilities are not considered. In other words, the ratio does not capture the company’s entire set of cash “obligations” that are owed to external stakeholders – it only captures funded debt. In the above-noted example, 57.9% of the company’s assets are financed by funded debt. Analysts will want to compare figures period over period , or against industry peers and/or a benchmark .


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  • The debt ratio of a business is used in order to determine how much risk that company has acquired.
  • The larger the debt ratio the greater is the company’s financial leverage.
  • The debt ratio is the ratio of a company’s debts to its assets, arrived at by dividing the sum of all its liabilities by the sum of all its assets.

An empirical analysis of the determinants of corporate debt ownership structure. That means Rick has $10 worth of debt for each dollar of assets. There is no absolute “good” or “ideal” ratio; it depends debt ratio definition on many factors, including the industry and management preference around debt funding. If the ratio is very low, however, it might suggest that the company should take more advantage of leverage.

What Does Debt Ratio Mean in Finance?

The lower the debt ratio is, the better position they’re in to handle the debt load. Not only does this mean a lower level of financial risk, it could also mean that the company is more financially stable.

  • If a company finances too much of its assets with debt, its debt ratio will be high.
  • Have you been exploring various financial metrics to gain insights into either your own company or a company you’re looking to invest in?
  • A value of less than 1 is considered ideal for any company, while it may vary per the industry for which it is being calculated.
  • These statements include the balance sheet, cash flow statement, income statement, and statement of shareholder’s equity.

If a company has a high debt ratio (above .5 or 50%) then it is often considered to be»highly leveraged» . A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.5 would indicate that the company in question has $1.50 of debt for every $1 of equity. To illustrate, suppose the company had assets of $2 million and liabilities of $1.2 million. Since equity is equal to assets minus liabilities, the company’s equity would be $800,000. Its debt-to-equity ratio would therefore be $1.2 million divided by $800,000, or 1.5.

More meanings of debt ratio

A high debt ratio indicates that a company is highly leveraged, and may have borrowed more money than it can easily pay back. Investors and accountants use debt ratios to assess the risk that a company is likely to default on its obligations. A debt ratio is a financial ratio that measures the size of a company’s leverage. The debt ratio is defined as the ratio between the total debt and the total assets, expressed as a decimal or a percentage.

debt ratio definition

On the other hand, if the value is 1 or more, the investors know that the total amount of debt is too much for the companies to pay back, so they decide not to invest in it. Solvency RatiosSolvency Ratios are the ratios which are calculated to judge the financial position of the organization from a long-term solvency point of view. Debt Ratio is a financial ratio that indicates the percentage of a company’s assets that are provided via debt. It is the ratio of total debt (short-term and long-term liabilities) and total assets (the sum of current assets, fixed assets, and other assets such as ‘goodwill’). Common debt ratios include debt-to-equity, debt-to-assets, long-term debt-to-assets, and leverage and gearing ratios. The purpose of calculating the debt ratio of a company is to give investors an idea of the company’s financial situation. Too high a debt ratio can indicate a looming problem for a company.

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