Home Learn What is Debt-to-Equity (D/E) Ratio and How to Calculate It?

What is Debt-to-Equity (D/E) Ratio and How to Calculate It?

What is Debt-to-Equity (D/E) Ratio and How to Calculate It?
Reading Time: 10 minutes

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew”, is a popular proverb that we all must’ve heard. This self-explanatory proverb is one of the most important life lessons that is also applied in the financial industry. In the finance world, the proverb signifies that you take the money according to how much you need with how much you can pay back. Although we have multiple financial metrics, understanding the Debt to Equity Ratio is crucial. 

Now that we have understood the basic structure of the DE ratio in simple terms, in this blog, we will discuss certain technical aspects in detail. Thus, let’s look at the debt to capital, debt to equity ratio formula, what the ideal debt to equity ratio is, and much more.

What is Debt to Equity Ratio?

The ratio of debt to equity meaning is the relative proportion of used debt and equity financing that a company has to fund its operations and investments. It provides insight into a company’s financial leverage and risk profile. 

A higher debt to equity ratio indicates that the company has taken on more debt relative to its equity, which can increase the risk of default if the company experiences financial difficulties. Conversely, a lower the debt to equity ratio suggests a lower financial risk and a more conservative financing strategy.

D/E Ratio Formula & Calculation

The debt to equity ratio formula is as follows:

Debt to Equity Ratio = Total Debt / Total Equity

where,

  • Total Debt: Represents all the outstanding debt a company has, including short-term and long-term debt.
  • Total Equity: Represents the total value of the company’s shareholders’ equity, which includes the value of common and preferred shares, retained earnings, and any other equity instruments issued by the company.

What Does Ratio Mean?

The term “ratio” in DE ratio refers to the comparison of two financial metrics and is expressed as a single numerical value, which is DE ratio.

Another similar financial ratio is the debt to asset ratio, which measures the proportion of a company’s assets that are financed by debt. The company calculates this ratio by dividing the total debt by the total assets. The industry and the specific circumstances of a company determine the ideal debt to asset ratio, but generally, a lower ratio is seen as less risky because it indicates that the company has less debt relative to its assets.

The term “ratio” in DE ratio refers to the comparison of two financial metrics and is expressed as a single numerical value, which is DE ratio.

How to Calculate D/E Ratio in Excel?

Entrepreneurs employ diverse software solutions to monitor financial metrics, including the D/E ratio. Microsoft Excel offers a pre-built balance sheet template capable of automatically computing key ratios like debt ratio and equity ratios. Alternatively, you can input the total liabilities and shareholders’ equity figures into adjacent cells, such as C3 and D3, and use the formula “=C3/D3” in cell E4 to derive the D/E ratio.

Here is how you can calculate D/E Ratio in excel.

How to Interpret Debt to Equity Ratio?

In general, a higher DE ratio suggests that a company is relying more heavily on debt financing than equity financing, which can increase its financial risk. 

Conversely, a company relying more on equity financing is generally considered less risky, as indicated by a lower DE ratio. 

Some specific interpretations of the DE ratio include:

  • Risk: A high debt or equity ratio may indicate that a company is taking on more financial risk, as it has more debt obligations to service. This can make it more vulnerable to changes in interest rates or economic conditions.
  • Leverage: A high DE ratio can also indicate that a company is highly leveraged, meaning that it is using a significant amount of borrowed funds to finance its operations and investments. This can amplify both profits and losses.
  • Financial Stability: A lower debt/ equity ratio may suggest that a company is more financially stable, as it has less debt to service and is less vulnerable to changes in interest rates or economic conditions.
  • Growth Potential: A high DE ratio may also suggest that a company has significant growth potential, as it can secure debt financing to fund expansion and investment opportunities.

Examples of Healthy Debt to Equity Ratio in Action

Company XYZ has a DE ratio of 1:5. This means that the company has ₹1.5 of debt for every ₹1 of equity.

Debt to Equity Ratio Formula:

D/E Ratio = Total Liabilities / Total Equity

For instance, if Company XYZ possesses a total liability of ₹1,50,000 and a total equity of ₹1,00,000, then one would calculate its debt to equity ratio as follows:

Debt to Equity Ratio Formula Example: DE Ratio = ₹1,50,000 / ₹1,00,000 = 1.5

Now, let’s take a closer look at how the debt to equity ratio affects Company XYZ’s financial performance and your returns:

Impact on Financial Performance:

  • A high DE ratio indicates that the company is relying heavily on debt to finance its operations.
  • This can lead to a higher risk of default and bankruptcy if the company is unable to meet its debt obligations.
  • On the other hand, a low DE ratio indicates that the company is using more equity financing, which can be less risky but may limit the company’s growth potential.

Impact on Your Returns:

  • You may use the ideal debt to equity ratio as a key metric when evaluating a company’s financial health.
  • A high DE ratio may signal that the company is riskier and may offer higher returns, but at a higher level of risk.
  • A low DE ratio may indicate a safer investment, but with lower potential returns.

In the case of Company XYZ, the DE ratio of 1.5 suggests that the company is relying heavily on debt to finance its operations, which could increase its risk of default and bankruptcy. The company’s potentially higher returns may attract you, but you must also be aware of the increased risk. Alternatively, if Company XYZ had a lower DE ratio, investors may see it as a safer investment, but with potentially lower returns.

Advantages of Debt Financing

Here are some advantages of using DE ratio:

  • Lower Financial Risk: A lower DE ratio can indicate that a company has less financial risk and is less likely to default on its debt obligations. This can provide more security as you’re less likely to lose your investment in the company.
  • Potential for Higher Returns: A higher DE ratio may indicate that a company has the potential for higher returns, as it is using debt to finance its operations and investments. This can increase the company’s leverage and amplify profits.
  • Flexibility in Financial Decision: A company with a moderate or ideal debt to equity ratio may have more flexibility in making financial decisions, as it can access both debt and equity financing. This can allow the company to pursue growth opportunities and make strategic investments.
  • Tax Advantages for Businesses: Interest payments on debt are tax-deductible, which can provide a tax advantage for companies that use debt financing. This can reduce the company’s tax liability and increase its after-tax earnings.

Are There Any Disadvantages of Using Debt to Equity Ratio?

It’s important to note that while debt financing can provide several attractive advantages, it also comes with potential risks. Let’s have a look at them first: 

  • Higher Financial Risk: A higher DE ratio can increase a company’s financial risk, as it may have difficulty servicing its debt obligations if it experiences a downturn in revenue or profits. This can lead to default or bankruptcy.
  • Limited Financial Flexibility for Businesses: A high debt to equity ratio may limit a company’s financial flexibility, as debt covenants may restrict it or it may have limited access to equity financing. This can limit its ability to make strategic investments or respond to changes in the stock market.
  • Interest Payments Can Be a Burden: Interest payments on debt can be a significant financial burden for companies, especially if interest rates rise or the company’s revenue declines. This can reduce the company’s profitability and limit its ability to reinvest in the business.

What is the Ideal Debt to Equity Ratio?

If a company has a DE ratio of 2:1, it means that the company has used twice as much debt financing as equity financing. In other words, for every ₹1 of equity, the company has ₹2 of debt.

The ideal debt to equity ratio varies depending on the industry and the company’s specific circumstances, but a lower ratio is generally seen as less risky because it indicates that the company is relying less on debt financing. A high DE ratio can signal to you and lenders that the company may have difficulty servicing its debt obligations.

Mitigate the Risk with Portfolio Investing

Stop scratching your head, we have found a perfect solution to mitigate the risk of debt to equity ratio. Simply via portfolio management and investing

Portfolio investing can help to mitigate the risks of debt to equity ratio by spreading out the investment across multiple companies and industries. By diversifying their portfolio, you can reduce the exposure to any one company’s debt to equity ratio and the associated risks.

For example, if you invest in a portfolio that has 10 stocks and one of the companies has a high DE ratio. The impact on your overall portfolio would be less significant than if you had invested all your money in one company. This is because the performance of the other stocks in the portfolio would help to offset any losses from the high-debt company.

In addition, you can also choose to invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or stocks via smallcase where you will pre-packaged portfolios according to your budget and risk appetite.

Equity & Debt smallcase by Windmill Capital

To Wrap It Up…

In general, there is no single “ideal” debt to equity ratio, as it can vary depending on the industry, the company’s stage of development, and its specific circumstances. However, many analysts suggest that a good debt to equity ratio of 2:1 or less is generally considered healthy for most companies.

Hence, it is advisable to do your research before making an informed decision.

FAQs

1. What is equity ratio?

The equity ratio represents the proportion of a company’s total assets that are financed by its shareholders’ equity. It is calculated by dividing equity by total assets, indicating financial stability.

2. Which industries have high D/E Ratios?

Industries with high D/E ratios typically include capital-intensive sectors like utilities, real estate, and finance, where substantial debt is common to fund operations and investments.

3. What is a good debt-to-equity ratio?

The debt to equity ratio idea is varies by industry but generally falls between 0.5 and 1.0. It signifies a balanced capital structure, with a reasonable mix of debt and equity financing.

4. Is zero debt-to-equity ratio good?

A zero debt-to-equity ratio can be good in certain cases, indicating a company operates entirely with equity funding, reducing interest expenses and financial risk.

5. What is the low debt to equity ratio? 

A low debt-to-equity ratio is typically below 0.5. It suggests a conservative financial approach with a strong reliance on equity financing and minimal debt, reducing financial risk.

6. What does an debt to equity ratio less than 1 mean?

A debt-to-equity ratio less than 1 indicates that a company relies more on equity financing than debt. It suggests a relatively lower level of financial risk and is often considered a favorable financial position.

7. What does higher debt to equity ratio means?

A higher debt-to-equity ratio signifies that a company has a greater proportion of its financing derived from debt as compared to equity. 

Important Ratios to Know About in Finance & Investment Sector – 

All about how to calculate different types of financial/investment ratios, their impact and how to manage them, just one click away on smallcase –