DEBT RATIO Definition

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DEBT RATIO measures the percent of total funds provided by creditors. Debt includes both current liabilities and long-term debt. Creditors prefer low debt ratios because the lower the ratio, the greater the cushion against creditors losses in liquidation. Owners may seek high debt ratios, either to magnify earnings or because selling new stock would mean giving up control. Owners want control while "using someone elses money." Debt Ratio is best compared to industry data to determine if a company is possibly over or under leveraged. The right level of debt for a business depends on many factors. Some advantages of higher debt levels are:

  • The deductibility of interest from business expenses can provide tax advantages.
  • Returns on equity can be higher.
  • Debt can provide a suitable source of capital to start or expand a business.

Some disadvantages can be:

  • Sufficient cash flow is required to service a higher debt load.
  • The need for this cash flow can place pressure on a business if income streams are erratic.
  • Susceptibility to interest rate increases.
  • Directing cash flow to service debt may starve expenditure in other areas such as development which can be detrimental to overall survival of the business.

 Formula: Total Liabilities / (Total Liabilities + Stockholders Equity)

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EQUITY MULTIPLIER (EM) shows the amount of assets owned by the firm for each equivalent monetary unit owner claims held by stockholders, i.e., the equity multiplier measures how many dollars of assets an institution supports with each dollar of capital. If a firm is totally financed by equity, the equity multiplier will equal 1.00, while the larger the number the more highly leveraged is the firm. EM compares assets with equity: large values indicate a large amount of debt financing relative to equity. EM, thus, measures financial leverage and represents both profit and risk measurement. EM affects a firm's profit because it has a multiplier impact on Return on Assets (ROA) to determine the firm's Return on Equity (ROE). EM is also a risk measure because it reflects how many assets can go into default before a company becomes insolvent. The EM ratio is best compared to industry averages. Formula: Total Assets / Net Worth

FINANCIAL EXPENSE can mean a. generally in the corporate world, it is a companys interest expense on long-term debt; or, in greater depth it is b. it includes interest and related charges; foreign exchange losses on debt; net expense on the disposal of marketable securities; amortization of bond redemption premiums; additions to provisions for financial liabilities and charges and impairment losses on investments.

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