ALTMAN Z-SCORE Definition

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ALTMAN Z-SCORE reliably predicts whether or not a company is likely to enter into bankruptcy within one or two years: If the Z-Score is 3.0 or above - bankruptcy is not likely. If the Z-Score is 1.8 or less - bankruptcy is likely.A Z-Score between 1.8 and 3.0 is the gray area, i.e., a high degree of caution should be used. Probabilities of bankruptcy within the above ranges are 95% for one year and 70% within two years. A Z-Score between the two is the gray area. Obviously a higher Z-Score is desirable. It is best to assess each individual companys Z-Score against that of the industry. In low margin industries it is possible for Z-Scores to fall below the above. In such cases a trend comparison to the industry over consecutive time periods may be a better indicator. It should be remembered that a Z-Score is only as valid as the data from which it was derived i.e. if a company has altered or falsified their financial records/books, a Z-Score derived from those "cooked books" is of lesser use.

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WORKING CAPITAL (WC) is current assets minus current liabilities; also called net current assets or current capital. It measures the margin of protection for current creditors. It reflects the ability to finance current operations.

SUBORDINATED DEBT is debt over which senior debt takes priority. In the event of bankruptcy, subordinated debt holders receive payment only after senior debt claims are paid in full. There is a pecking order determining the sequence in which a company will pay off its debt instruments, subordinate (or junior) issues will not be repaid until unsubordinated (or senior) debt has been repaid in full.

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