How to calculate debt to equity ratio

The Measurement of Financial Risk

How to calculate debt to equity ratio

The debt to equity ratio indicates how much debt and how much equity a business uses to finance its operations.  

A company’s debt is its long-term debt such as loans with a maturity of greater than one year. Equity is shareholder’s equity or what the investors in your business own. If your business is a small business that is a sole proprietorship and you are the only owner, your investment in the business would be the shareholder’s equity.

The Debt to Equity Ratio

Debt and equity compose a company’s capital structure or how it finances its operations. Debt and equity both have advantages and disadvantages. The debt to equity ratio can be used as a measure of the risk that a business cannot repay its financial obligations.

Debt and equity both have advantages and disadvantages. The debt to equity ratio can be used as a measure of the risk that a business cannot repay its financial obligations.

The debt and equity components come from the right side of the firm’s balance sheet. Debt is what the firm owes its creditors plus interest.   In the debt to equity ratio, only long-term debt is used in the equation. Long-term debt is debt that has a maturity of more than one year. Long-term debt includes mortgages, long-term leases, and other long-term loans.

If you have a $50,000 loan and $10,000 is due this year, the $10,000 is considered a current liability and the remaining $40,000 is considered a long-term liability or long-term debt. When calculating the debt to equity ratio, you use the entire $40,000 in the numerator of the equation.

Shareholder’s equity, if your firm is incorporated, is the sum of paid-in capital, the contributed capital above the par value of the stock, and retained earnings. The company’s retained earnings are the profits not paid out as dividends to shareholders. Contributed capital is the value shareholders paid in for their shares.

Shareholder’s equity is the value of the company’s total assets less its total liabilities. The remainder is the shareholder ownership of the company. It is the denominator in the debt to equity equation.

Calculating the Debt to Equity Ratio

The debt to equity ratio is calculated by dividing the total long-term debt of the business by the book value of the shareholder’s equity of the business or, in the case of a sole proprietorship, the owner’s investment:

Debt to Equity = (Total Long-Term Debt)/Shareholder’s Equity

Even though shareholder’s equity should be stated on a book value basis, you can substitute market value since book value understates the value of the equity.   Market value is what an investor would pay for one share of the firm’s stock.

Understanding the Debt to Equity Ratio

The debt to equity ratio shows a company’s debt as a percentage of its shareholder’s equity. If the debt to equity ratio is less than 1.0, then the firm is generally less risky than firms whose debt to equity ratio is greater than 1.0.  .

If the company, for example, has a debt to equity ratio of .50, it means that it uses 50 cents of debt financing for every $1 of equity financing.

Firms whose ratio is greater than 1.0 use more debt in financing their operations than equity. If the ratio is less than 1.0, they use more equity than debt.

If a company has a ratio of 1.25, it uses $1.25 in debt financing for every $1 of debt financing.

Understanding the debt to equity ratio in this way is important to allow the management of a company to understand how to finance the operations of the business firm.

This ratio is a measure of financial risk or financial leverage. In the previous example, the company with the 50% debt to equity ratio is less risky than the firm with the 1.25 debt to equity ratio since debt is a riskier form of financing than equity  . Along with being a part of the financial leverage ratios, the debt to equity ratio is also a part of the group of ratios called gearing ratios.

Interpreting the Results

As with any ratio, the debt-to-equity ratio offers more meaning and insight when compared to the same calculation for different historical financial periods. If a company’s debt to equity ratio has risen dramatically over time, the company may have an aggressive growth strategy being funded by debt.

If a company’s debt to equity ratio has risen dramatically over time, the company may have an aggressive growth strategy being funded by debt.

This increasing leverage (using debt to finance growth) adds additional risk to the company and increases expenses due to the higher interest costs and debt.  ​

The debt to equity ratio can be misleading unless it is used along with industry average ratios and financial information to determine how the company is using debt and equity as compared to its industry. Companies that are heavily capital intensive may have higher debt to equity ratios while service firms will have lower ratios.

If you own a business, determining how much it depends on loans gives you a better understanding of its financial health. The debt-to-equity ratio, for example, provides you with the information you need to assess your company’s financial leverage. Depending on your findings, you have the ability to make strategic changes to your business to improve its profitability. In this article, we define the debt-to-equity ratio, provide you with the steps to calculate it and give you tips on how to lower your debt-to-equity ratio.

What is a debt-to-equity ratio?

Used in corporate and personal finances, the debt-to-equity ratio refers to a financial metric that evaluates your company’s financial leverage. In other words, it lets you determine how much a company finances its operations via debt as opposed to owned funds. It’s also referred to as the personal debt-to-equity ratio when used with personal financial statements.

The debt-to-equity ratio allows you to determine if there’s enough shareholder equity to pay off debts if your company were to face a fall in profits. Investors tend to modify the ratio to center on long-term debt since risks vary when you look beyond the short-term, or they use other formulas to determine a company’s short-term leverage.

Though the debt-to-equity ratio provides you with an idea of a company’s financial leverage, keep in mind that the calculation risks changes incurred from earnings, losses and other adjustments. Because of this, it’s important to conduct further research to come to a clearer conclusion. It’s also worth noting that a company’s debt-to-equity ratio varies across industries since amounts of debt change by sector.

Debt-to-equity ratio formula

The debt-to-equity ratio involves dividing a company’s total liabilities by its shareholder equity. Here’s the debt-to-equity formula at a glance:

Debt-to-equity ratio = Total liabilities / Total shareholders’ equity

The company’s balance sheet lists both the total liabilities and shareholders’ equity that you need for this calculation. Keep in mind that total shareholder equity equals assets minus liabilities.

How to calculate the debt-to-equity ratio

To better understand what goes into the debt-to-equity ratio, try calculating it. Follow these steps to calculate the debt-to-equity ratio:

1. Use the balance sheet

To calculate the debt-to-equity ratio, you need both the company’s total liabilities and its shareholder equity. Find both figures on the company balance sheet.

2. Start dividing

Divide the company’s total liabilities by its shareholder equity. This results in the debt-to-equity ratio.

A higher leverage ratio often signifies that a company poses a higher risk to its shareholders, increasing the possibility of bankruptcy if business slows. Essentially, it means that the company has heavily relied on debt for its growth. While this has the potential to create more earnings and, therefore, benefits for shareholders, share values may fall if the cost of debt exceeds incoming earnings. In contrast, a low ratio signifies a lower amount of debt financing through lenders as opposed to equity funding from shareholders.

How to calculate the debt-to-equity ratio in Excel

Microsoft Excel comes with several templates that calculate the debt-to-equity ratio. Here are the steps for calculating the debt-to-equity ratio in Excel:

1. Find the total debt and total shareholder equity

Locate the total debt and total shareholder equity via the company’s balance sheet just as if you were to calculate the ratio on your own.

2. Input the numbers into the template

Once you have the figures, put them in adjacent cells within the Excel template. For example, B3 and B4.

3. Input the formula

With the figures inserted into their proper cells, input “=B3/B4” (or the cells you used) to get the debt-to-equity ratio.

Example of debt-to-equity ratio

Consider a company with total liabilities equal to $5,000 and shareholders’ equity amounts equal to $2,000. To calculate the debt-to-equity ratio, divide total liabilities by total shareholders’ equity. In this case, divide 5,000 by 2,000 to get 2.5.

Benefits of a debt-to-equity ratio

Using the debt-to-equity ratio comes with several advantages from a financial standpoint. Here are some of the benefits of using the debt-to-equity ratio:

  • It allows investors to examine a company’s financial health and its low or high liquidity.
  • It helps understand shareholder’s earnings. This means it lets you determine if the company has a high or low debt, which impacts profits. When profit decreases, so do dividends, which are distributed to shareholders.
  • The ratio helps lenders and creditors determine if they can trust small businesses in regards to their loan applications. It also lets them know if these small businesses make regular installment payments.
  • It helps management teams determine the market competition and what’s needed to improve the ideal debt-to-equity ratio.

Tips for lowering your debt-to-equity ratio

If you own a business, aim for a low debt-to-equity ratio. If your debt-to-equity ratio reaches 80%, it may signal financial difficulties. At this point, lenders may not want to offer you a loan or increase your credit line with them. Here are some tips to lower your debt-to-equity ratio:

  • Pay down any loans. When you pay off loans, the ratio starts to balance out. Make sure you don’t take on additional debt either, since that can raise your debt-to-equity ratio.
  • Increase profitability. To increase your company’s profitability, work to improve sales revenue and lower costs.
  • Improve inventory management. Effectively managing the company’s inventory ensures no money goes to waste. Make sure you don’t have high inventory levels that go beyond what’s required to fill orders.
  • Restructure debt. Consider refinancing your existing debt if you have loans with high-interest rates. Restructuring when current market rates are low helps to lower your debt-to-equity ratio overall.

When you use these strategies in conjunction, they can have a greater impact.

In this post we will learn how to calculate debt to equity ratio step by step.

The debt to equity ratio also called d/e ratio is used to measure a firm’s total debt to total equity. The d/e ratio indicates the proportion of a firm’s funding that arises from creditors and investors. A greater d/e ratio means that creditor funding is often used than investor.

Total liabilities are divided by total equity to determine the d/e ratio. Since all of the components are listed on the company’s balance sheet, the d/e ratio is called a balance sheet ratio.

How to calculate debt to equity ratio

Formula to Calculate Debt to Equity Ratio

Debt to Equity Ratio = Total liabilities/Total equity

Example – ABC ltd has a long term loan of 10,00,000 and a mortgage on land of 5,00,000. The Shareholder has invested 5,00,000. Find the D/E ratio?

Debt to Equity Ratio = Total liabilities/Total equity

Debt to Equity Ratio Analysis

While some sectors need more debt funding than others, each business has its own d/e ratio standard. A debt ratio of.5 indicates there are half as many obligations as there are equity. In other terms, the business’s investments are financed 2-to-1 from investors to creditors. This implies that owners own 66.6 percent of every dollar in business assets, whereas creditors own just 33.3 percent.

A d/e ratio of one indicates that both investors and borrowers have an equivalent interest in the company’s properties.

A smaller d/e ratio typically indicates a more financially viable firm. Firms with a greater d/e ratio are seen as riskier by creditors & investors than those with a lower ratio. Debt, as comparison to equity funding, would be returned to the investor. Debt funding could be much more costly than equity funding because it often involves debt management or monthly interest charges. Firms who use a lot of loans may not be able to meet the payments

A greater d/e ratio is seen as risky by creditors since it indicates that taxpayers have not financed the activities more than creditors have. In other words, owners should not have the same stake in the business as creditors. This might imply that investors are unable to finance corporate activities since the enterprise is underperforming. Inadequate profitability could also be a factor in the firm’s decision to pursue additional debt funding.

Debt to equity ratio (also termed as debt equity ratio) is a long term solvency ratio that indicates the soundness of long-term financial policies of a company. It shows the relation between the portion of assets financed by creditors and the portion of assets financed by stockholders. As the debt to equity ratio expresses the relationship between external equity (liabilities) and internal equity (stockholder’s equity), it is also known as “external-internal equity ratio”.


Debt to equity ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by stockholder’s equity.

The numerator consists of the total of current and long term liabilities and the denominator consists of the total stockholders’ equity including preferred stock. Both the elements of the formula are obtained from company’s balance sheet.

Example 1:

ABC company has applied for a loan. The lender of the loan requests you to compute the debt to equity ratio as a part of the long-term solvency test of the company.

The “Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity” section of the balance sheet of ABC company is given below:

How to calculate debt to equity ratio

Required: Compute debt to equity ratio of ABC company.


Debt to equity ratio = Total liabilities/Stockholders’ equity
= 7,250/8,500
= 0.85

The debt to equity ratio of ABC company is 0.85 or 0.85 : 1. It means the liabilities are 85% of stockholders equity or we can say that the creditors provide 85 cents for each dollar provided by stockholders to finance the assets.

Significance and interpretation:

A ratio of 1 (or 1 : 1) means that creditors and stockholders equally contribute to the assets of the business.

A less than 1 ratio indicates that the portion of assets provided by stockholders is greater than the portion of assets provided by creditors and a greater than 1 ratio indicates that the portion of assets provided by creditors is greater than the portion of assets provided by stockholders.

Creditors usually like a low debt to equity ratio because a low ratio (less than 1) is the indication of greater protection to their money. But stockholders like to get benefit from the funds provided by the creditors therefore they would like a high debt to equity ratio.

Debt equity ratio vary from industry to industry. Different norms have been developed for different industries. A ratio that is ideal for one industry may be worrisome for another industry. A ratio of 1 : 1 is normally considered satisfactory for most of the companies.

If debt to equity ratio and one of the other two equation elements is known, we can work out the third element. Consider the example 2 and 3.

Example 2 – computation of stockholders’ equity when total liabilities and debt to equity ratio are given

The Petersen Trading Company has total liabilities of $937,500 and a debt to equity ratio of 1.25. Calculate total stockholders’ equity of Petersen Trading Company.


Debt to equity ratio = Total liabilities/Total stockholder’s equity
Total stockholder’s equity = Total liabilities/Debt to equity ratio
= $937,500/1.25
= $750,000

Example 3 – computation of total liabilities when stockholders’ equity and debt to equity ratio are given

The Steward Corporation’s debt to equity ratio for the last year was 0.75 and stockholders’ equity was $750,000. What was the total liabilities of the corporation?


Debt to equity ratio = Total liabilities/Total stockholder’s equity
Total liabilities = Stockholders’ equity × Debt to equity ratio
= $750,000 × 0.75
= $562,500

32 Comments on Debt to equity ratio

How To Calculate Gearing Ratio

Total Debt/Net Worth Meaning

Gearing ratio. Long term debt/share capital+reserve+longtrmdebt

(1). A ratio that compares debts and equities of a company or the ability of a company to meet its debt related expenses (interest on borrowed funds etc.) is known as gearing ratio. Examples of gearing ratios are debt to equity ratio, capital gearing ratio, fixed assets to equity ratio and times interest earned ratio.

(2). Debt to net worth ratio (or total debt/net worth)and debt to equity ratio are the same.

what if my debt to equity ratio is greater than 1, for example it is 40.6 or 4058%?
how do i explain it by comparing it with a debt – equity ratio of 0.7237 or 72.37%?

Sophie, In your example you want to say 0.406 or 40.58%, not 40.6 or 4058%.

In first situation, creditors contribute $0.406 for each dollar invested by stockholders whereas in second situation, creditors contribute $0.7237 for each dollar invested by stockholders.

what does it mean as below?
debt equity ratio does not exceed 60:40

Liabilities: 60
Stockholders’ equity: 40

what if two companies debt to equity ratio are the same?

What is the relationship of the two variables (i.e. debt and equity) to retained earnings?

hi… lets say the debt to equity ratio for a company is 196.38%.. how do I explain this…

how about i got the total is 10.88? so it will be 1088% .. how can i explain it pleasee help mee.

Hi…i think there is a misunderstanding here. What Accounting For Management last June 14 is saying is the debt to asset ratio and not debt to equity ratio. In debt to asset ratio, total asset is 100% while in debt to equity ratio, Total equity is 100%.

Debt to asset ratio of 40%. It means that 40% of the total asset is owned by external creditors while the 60% is owned by the company’s stockholders. If the answer is 100%, this means that all resources are financed by the company’s creditors and total equity is equal to “0”. This ratio will not exceed 100%.

Debt to equity ratio of 40%. This depicts that the company’s liabilities is only 40% compared to the company’s stockholders. This indicates that the company is taking little debt and thus has low risk. This ratio can exceed 100%. If the debt to equity ratio is 100%, it means that total liability is equal to total equity, thus, when you compute the debt to asset ratio, the answer will be 50%. However, if the answer for the debt to equity ratio is more than 100%, it means that total liability is higher than the company’s capital or total equity.

Thus, zawani md tahir, when you say that the debt to equity ratio is 10.88 or 1088%, the debt is 10 times of the company’s total equity. It indicates that the company has been heavily taking on debt and thus has high risk.

Hope my answer helps in explaining the difference between debt to asset ratio and debt to equity ratio. Both ratios pertains to the company’s leverage.

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Need to know how to find your debt-to-equity ratio? Investors care about your liquidity (asset health) and solvency (debt health), and as a business owner, you should too. In financial metrics, that means tracking your current and quick ratio and your debt-to-equity ratio respectively. On the simplest terms, debt is what you owe, equity is what you own. Lucky for you, we’ve included a convenient debt-to-equity ratio calculator for you to quickly find yours.

What’s covered in this blog:

  • What is liquidity?
  • What is solvency?
  • Liquidity vs. Solvency Infographic
  • Debt-to-Equity Ratio Calculator
  • Is all debt bad?

What is liquidity?

Liquidity is the short-term ability to cover your debts. Put another way, how quickly you can turn your assets into cash. Liquidity is closely linked to your cash flow. A greater liquidity in cash and convertible assets signifies a better financial health in the overall value of your company. Liquidity is measured using your current ratio (or working capital ratio) and your quick ratio.

Current Ratio Formula

The current ratio measures if you have enough assets to cover short-term expenses like your accounts payable and payroll. The formula to find your current ratio is: current assets/current liabilities.

Quick Ratio Formula

Your quick ratio, also known as the acid-test ratio, excludes inventory (because some inventory cannot be quickly converted to cash). The formula to find your quick ratio is: (assets-inventory)/liabilities.

What is solvency and how do you track it?

Solvency, on the other hand, is the ability to pay debt and long-term expenses on an ongoing basis. In other words, do your assets cover your debts? Having more equity than debt with a downward ratio trend is a good thing. You want your shareholders financing the operations more than your creditors. That said, increasing your debt to take advantage of an awesome new opportunity can be worth it if properly vetted first, but don’t rely on debt for normal operating expenses.

How to calculate debt to equity ratio

Debt-to-Equity Ratio Formula

The formula to find your debt-to-equity ratio is: total liabilities/total equity.

You can find your total liabilities and your total equity on the ever-important balance sheet.

  • Your total liabilities include your total short-term and long-term debt plus other liabilities like deferred tax.
  • Also found on your balance sheet, your total equity is calculated by subtracting your total liabilities from your total assets, equity = assets – liabilities.

The debt-to-equity ratio is a good measure of both a company’s financial stability and its ability to raise capital to scale. A lower ratio is normally what you are aiming for. Generally, you want your shareholders financing the operations more than your creditors.

Use our convenient debt-to-equity ratio calculator to find yours now:

Typically, you would aim for a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.0 or less. In an asset-heavy business, you’re going to have more debt, with large manufacturing or consumer products companies carrying ratios of up to 5.0. So, it’s about finding the right balance of debt-to-equity for your industry and business model.

Is all debt bad?

Great question. No, absolutely not! All debt is not bad. While you certainly want to show investors and other stakeholders that you are in a good cash flow position, if you are reinvesting in order to grow, that is a perfectly acceptable reason to be short-term in the red.

Cloud CFO Tip: If your controller only pinches the bottom line you’ve got a problem. Say you’ve got a strong balance sheet and are planning to reinvest. If they can’t support an investment in growth, your controller is holding your business back.

Generally, a lower debt-to-equity ratio is better; however, if you have no debt and your ratio is zero, then you should consider what opportunities you might be missing out on. If you can grow more quickly by taking on debt, then it makes sense to do so.

How to use debt to your advantage.

Debt used in a responsible way can be very beneficial to accelerate growth. In fact, in many instances, compared to equity, debt can be cheaper by providing tax savings to a company, e.g., interest rates on business loans which are deductible on your company’s tax returns.

Need help with your tax returns? Learn more about ORBA’s tax services.

A few strategic ways to use debt include:

  • purchasing another business to help you grow faster.
  • funding marketing campaigns to acquire new customers or to build out a customer success program.
  • buying equipment that helps you streamline operations.

In these instances, your debt-to-equity ratio may be greater than the ideal 2.0, and that’s okay. A higher debt-to-equity ratio indicates high growth in these examples.

Good CFOs will get creative with how to put your debt to work. Ditch your line of credit and build a rainy day fund, for example. Capitalize on the unique opportunities to secure loans with low-interest rates. If you have a solid P&L and balance sheet without too much existing debt, take out a fixed-term loan to get some cash up front. It can either help you survive in a crunch or better yet, help you double-down.

The debt ratio and the equity multiplier are two balance sheet ratios that measure a company’s indebtedness. Find out what they mean and how to calculate them.

When you want to get an idea of a company’s financial condition, ratio analysis is one of the tools of the trade. In the following article, you’ll learn about two useful balance sheet ratios: the debt ratio and the equity multiplier, and you’ll learn the relationship between the two and how to calculate one using the other.

Companies finance their assets through two means: Debt and equity. Let’s imagine company A has assets totaling $300,000 that is has financed issuing $200,000 worth of debt and $100,000 of equity:

How to calculate debt to equity ratio

Calculating the debt ratio
The debt ratio is the proportion of a company’s assets that is financed through debt:

Debt ratio = Total debt / Total assets

The more debt the company carries relative to the size of its balance sheet, the higher the debt ratio. Total debt cannot be negative, nor can it be greater than total assets (ignoring cases of negative equity), therefore the debt ratio must be between 0% and 100% (the debt ratio is commonly expressed as a percentage).

In the case of company A, we obtain:

Debt ratio = ( $200,000 / $300,000 ) = 2/3 ≈ 67%

Two-thirds of the company A’s assets are financed through debt, with the remainder financed through equity.

Calculating the equity multiplier
The equity multiplier, on the other hand, relates the size of the balance sheet (i.e. total assets) to the amount of equity ; in other words, it measures the factor by which the company’s equity has been leveraged:

Equity multiplier = Total assets / Total equity

The greater the equity multiplier, the higher the amount of leverage.

For company A, we obtain:

Equity multiplier = ( $300,000 / $100,000 ) = 3.0 times

How to calculate the debt ratio using the equity multiplier (and vice-versa)
The debt ratio and the equity multiplier are linked by the following formula:

Debt ratio = 1- ( 1 / Equity multiplier )

Let’s verify the formula for company A:

Debt ratio = 1-( 1 / 3 ) = 2 / 3 ≈ 67%, which is exactly the result we found above.

If you want to know how the formula linking the debt ratio was derived, it’s very straightforward using some basic algebra. If you’re interested, you can find the derivation at the bottom of the article.

Examples: Apple Inc. and Cheseapeake Energy Corporation

Below is the relevant balance sheet data taken straight from Apple Inc‘s most recent quarterly report:

How to calculate debt to equity ratio

Source: Apple, press release


Equity multiplier

$293,284/ $128,267 = 2.29 x

Debt ratio

$165,017/ $293,284 = 56.3%

Given the size of the operating cash flows Apple generates and the quality of its business, Apple’s use of debt is conservative and its equity multiplier reflect this.

Next, we have Chesapeake Energy’s condensed balance sheet, taken from its most recent quarterly report:

How to calculate debt to equity ratio
Source: Chesapeake Energy Corporation press release

We’re ready to run the numbers:


Chesapeake Energy

Equity multiplier

$17,357/ $$2,397 = 7.2 x

Debt ratio

$14,960/ $17,357 = 86.2%

Chesapeake Energy is no Apple! Its higher ratios reflect a very significant use of debt, and given Chesapeake Energy’s exposure to commodities prices, this is a very different proposition in terms of the business’ financial risk.

Extra credit: Deriving the equation linking the debt ratio and the equity multiplier:

Equity multiplier = Total assets / Total equity

Another way of writing that equation is:

Total equity / Total assets = ( 1 / Equity multiplier ) (1)

According to the fundamental equation of accounting:

Total equity = Total assets-Total debt

If we substitute that into equation (1), we obtain:

( Total assets-Total debt ) / Total assets = ( 1 / Equity multiplier )

Which simplifies to:

1- ( Total debt / Total assets ) = ( 1 / Equity multiplier )

Re-arranging the terms:

( Total debt / Total assets ) = 1- ( 1 / Equity multiplier )

But ( Total debt/ Total assets ) is nothing other than the debt ratio, so we have our result:

Debt ratio = 1- ( 1 / Equity multiplier )

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Debt/Equity Ratio What Does Debt/Equity Ratio Mean? A measure of a company’s financial leverage calculated by dividing its total liabilities by its stockholders’ equity; it indicates what proportion of equity and debt the company is using to finance its assets. http://financial-dictionary. thefreedictionary. com/debt%2Fequity+ratio ‘Debt/Equity Ratio’ A high debt/equity ratio generally means that a company has been aggressive in financing its growth with debt. This can result in volatile earnings as a result of the additional interest expense.
If a lot of debt is used to finance increased operations (high debt to equity), the company could potentially generate more earnings than it would have without this outside financing. If this were to increase earnings by a greater amount than the debt cost (interest), then the shareholders benefit as more earnings are being spread among the same amount of shareholders. However, the cost of this debt financing may outweigh the return that the company generates on the debt through investment and business activities and become too much for the company to handle. This can lead to bankruptcy, which would leave shareholders with nothing.
The debt/equity ratio also depends on the industry in which the company operates. For example, capital-intensive industries such as auto manufacturing tend to have a debt/equity ratio above 2, while personal computer companies have a debt/equity of under 0. 5. Read more: http://www. investopedia. com/terms/d/debtequityratio. asp#ixzz2DQ7bp1aa The debt to equity ratio is a financial metric used to assess a company’s capital structure, or “capital stack. ” Specifically, the ratio measures the relative proportions of the firm’s assets that are funded by debt or equity.

The debt to equity ratio (also called the risk ratio or leverage ratio) provides a quick tool to financial analysts and prospective investors for determining the amount of financial leverage a company is using, and thus its exposure to interest rate increases or insolvency. Knowing how to analyze the debt to equity ratio can help you assess a company’s financial health before investing. Steps 1. 1 Determine the debt to equity ratio for the company in question. The ratio is calculated simply by dividing the firm’s total debt by its total shareholder’s equity.
These balances can be found on the company’s balance sheet. Ads by Google Free Annuity Calculator Up To 40% More Income To Retire On. Try Our Free Online Calculator Now! AgePartnership. co. uk/Annuity-Report * Generally, only interest-bearing, long term debt (such as notes payable and bonds) is included in the ratio’s calculation. Short-term liabilities, such as accounts payable, are often left out, as they don’t provide much information about the company’s use of leverage. * Some large, off-balance sheet liabilities should be included in the ratio’s calculation, however.
Operating leases and unpaid pensions are 2 common off-balance sheet liabilities that are large enough to warrant inclusion in the debt to equity ratio. 2. 2 Perform a cursory assessment of the firm’s capital structure. Once you have determined the debt to equity ratio for a particular company, you can get an idea of their capital stack. A ratio of 1, for example, indicates that the company funds its projects with an even mix of debt and equity. A low ratio (below about 0. 30) is generally considered good, because the company has a low amount of debt, and is therefore exposed to less risk in terms of interest rate increases or credit rating. . 3 Consider the financing needs associated with the specific industry in which the firm operates. Generally, a high debt to equity ratio (2, for example) is worrisome, as it indicates a precarious amount of leverage. However, in some industries this is appropriate. Construction firms, for example, fund their projects almost entirely with debt in the form of construction loans. This leads to a high debt to equity ratio, but the firm is in no real risk of insolvency, as the owners of each construction project are essentially paying to service the debt themselves. . 4 Determine the effect of treasury stock on the debt to equity ratio. When a company issues stock, shares are usually held on the balance sheet at par value (often only $0. 01 per share). When the firm buys back stock, the treasury stock is recorded at the purchase price; this results in a massive subtraction from shareholder’s equity, increasing the debt to equity ratio. A troublingly high debt to equity ratio may simply be the result of stock buybacks. 5. 5 Augment your analysis with other financial ratios. The debt to equity ratio should never be used alone.
For example, if a company’s debt to equity ratio is quite high, you might reasonably worry about their ability to service their debt. To address this concern, you can also analyze the firm’s interest coverage ratio, which is the company’s operating income divided by debt service payments. A high operating income will allow even a debt-burdened firm to meets its obligations. Capital Structure Total Debt to Total Equity 40. 13 Total Debt to Total Capital 28. 64 Total Debt to Total Assets 17. 66 Long-Term Debt to Equity 31. 57 Long-Term Debt to Total Capital 22. 53

Find out what a debt-to-equity ratio is, why it is important to a business, and how to calculate it.

Updated on March 31st, 2020

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The debt-to-equity ratio is a financial ratio most often used by bankers and investors to tell how well a company uses debt to finance its operations. It is an important calculation for gauging business health and how attractive your company is to banks and investors.

How to Calculate Debt-To-Equity Ratio:

To calculate your company’s debt-to-equity ratio you’ll need your company’s total liabilities and shareholders’ equity.

  • Debt/Total Liabilities: Money owed to others.
  • Shareholders’ Equity: Assets minus liabilities.

You’ll find this information on your company’s balance sheet.

How to calculate debt to equity ratio

Balance Sheet Template

Download our free Balance Sheet template spreadsheet.

Debt-To-Equity Ratio Formula:

D/E = Total Liabillities/Shareholders’ Equity


Your company owes a total of $350,000 in bank loan repayments, investor payments, etc. Your company has $320,000 in Shareholders’ Equity.

D/E = Total Liabilities/Shareholders’ Equity

D/E = 1.09

Your company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.09.

Interpreting Debt-To-Equity Ratios:

Company does not finance growth through debt at all.

Twice as much equity as debt. Investors own two-thirds of the company’s assets.

Creditors and investors own equal parts of company assets.

For every dollar in equity, the company owes $1.50 to creditors.

Twice as much debt as equity. Creditors own two thirds of company assets.

A debt-to-equity ratio that is too high suggests the company may be relying too much on lending to fund operations. This makes investing in the company riskier, as the company is primarily funded by debt which must be repaid.

However, a debt-to-equity ratio that is too low suggests the company is paying for most of its operations with equity, which is an inefficient way to grow a business.

A ratio of between 1 and 1.5 is considered ideal. Anything higher than 2, for most industries, is too high.