What Is Debt to Equity Ratio

The most important thing to consider when assessing the health of a particular company is its financial condition. The debt-to-equity ratio is used to calculate the weight of total debt and financial liabilities relative to total equity.

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What Is Debt to Equity Ratio

A debt to equity ratio shows the company’s ability to pay back their obligations. This can be indicative of a company’s overall health.

The higher the debt to equity ratio in a company, the more likely it is to go bankrupt. Investors and lenders prefer to have a low debt-to-equity ratio. The debt-to-equity ratio shows how a company is using leverage. Generally, it is tougher to compare debt-to-equity ratios across different industry groups due to differences in optimal debt amounts. Higher leverage signals a higher risk company to shareholders.

Investors pay attention to the debt to equity ratio when modifying it to focus on long-term debt. The investors are typically more worried about how a company will deal with their long-term liabilities as opposed to what they owe for short-term debts and payables.

Check out: Difference between Net Profit & Cash Flow

Debt To Equity Interpretation

The debt to equity ratio helps a company know if they are using debt financing or equity to run their operations.

  • High debt-to-equity ratio

If the company has a high debt-to-equity, it means there is a high risk to the company. If the company is borrowing money from the market to fund operations.

  • Low debt-to-equity ratio

A low debt-to-equity ratio generally reflects a company that has more owned capital than borrowed, which means they don’t need external financing to operate.


A high debt-to-equity ratio may indicate that a company is borrowing capital from the market, while a low debt-to-equity ratio may indicate the company has been utilizing its assets and borrowing less capital from the market.

How Does Debt to Equity Ratio Works

A company’s debt-to-equity ratio tells investors about the risk associated with that company. Generally, companies use debt for growth, but it can become a financial risk if the debt-to-equity ratio sharply increases. Investors need to compare the ratio to the average before getting worried.

Benefits Of Debt to Equity Ratio

  1. A high debt to equity ratio indicates that a company is able to fulfill debt obligations with its cash flow. This allows the company to leverage its activities in order to increase and gain strategic growth.
  2. It is recommended that the ratio be between 1.5-2, and it is acceptable if the large company’s debt-to-equity ratio is higher than 2.
  3. Most of the time, high debt-to-equity ratio indicates that a company can’t generate enough cash to satisfy its debt obligations. However, this ratio is low for companies who are able to use leverage when they can’t support it themselves.

Limitations of Debt to Equity Ratio

  1. The debt-to-equity ratio is the same when a company’s total liabilities are equal to its shareholder’s equity. This ratio depends on the proportion of current and noncurrent assets because it is very industry specific.
  2. The maximum acceptable debt-to-equity ratio for more companies is 1.5-2 or less, as large companies’ values over 2 in the ratio is acceptable.
  3. A debt-to-equity ratio tells you how a company is managing their debt obligations and whether they can repay them. A company with low debts, to equity, has an advantage of the higher profit that financial leveraging may provide.

What are risks involved in Higher Debt to Equity Ratio

  1. If a company has a high debt to equity ratio, any losses incurred will make it difficult for the company to pay back its debts.
  2. If a company’s debt is too high, this will create a situation in which the cost of borrowing and equity is dramatically increased. For example, if the debt-to-equity ratio is too high (or alternatively, if the debt starts to weigh heavily on the company), this can turn into a situation where capital becomes very expensive for the company, forcing share prices to drop.