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Debt to Equity Ratio

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updated 20 Feb 2023

The debt-to-equity ratio (D/E) is a financial ratio that compares a company's total liabilities to its total shareholders' equity. It is a measure of a company's leverage and is used to evaluate a company's financial health and its ability to pay back its debt. The ratio is calculated by dividing the total liabilities by the total shareholders' equity. A higher debt-to-equity ratio indicates that a company has more debt relative to its equity, which means it is more leveraged and may be more risky. A lower debt-to-equity ratio indicates that a company has less debt relative to its equity and is less leveraged and may be less risky. The industry standards for debt-to-equity ratio varies depending on the industry a company operates in, therefore it is important to compare it to the industry average.

Why it Matters

Debt-to-equity ratio is an important measure of a company's financial health because it indicates the degree to which a company's operations are financed by debt versus equity.

A high debt-to-equity ratio indicates that a company has a higher level of debt relative to its equity, which can be a sign of financial risk. This is because a high level of debt can make a company more vulnerable to economic downturns and interest rate changes, since it must devote more of its revenue to paying interest on its debt. Additionally, high debt levels can put pressure on a company's cash flow, making it more difficult for the company to meet its financial obligations.

On the other hand, a low debt-to-equity ratio indicates that a company has a lower level of debt relative to its equity, which is generally considered a sign of financial stability. Companies with a low debt-to-equity ratio have more flexibility in terms of financing future growth and can weather economic downturns more easily. Additionally, companies with a low debt-to-equity ratio may be able to secure more favorable financing terms from lenders.

It is important to note that the ideal debt-to-equity ratio will vary depending on the industry and the company's specific circumstances. This ratio is best used to compare companies within the same industry, or to compare a company's debt-to-equity ratio over time.

Other Resources

What is Debt to Equity