What Is The Interest Coverage Ratio And How Do You Calculate It?

Both equity and debt investors will look for stability in ICR as a positive sign. A “good” interest coverage ratio is likely to vary from industry to industry. For example, the average debt obligations for businesses in the manufacturing and technology industries are dramatically different. Overall, an interest coverage ratio of at least two is the minimum acceptable amount.

What are the 4 types of ratio analysis?

In general, there are four common types of measures used in ratio analysis: profitability, liquidity, solvency, and valuation.

For example, during the recession of 2008, car sales dropped substantially, hurting the auto manufacturing industry. Generally, a higher coverage ratio is better, although the ideal ratio may vary by industry. Adam Hayes is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master’s in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7 & 63 licenses.

Interest Coverage Ratio

A company with very large current earnings beyond the amount required to make interest payments on its debt has a larger financial cushion against a temporary downturn in revenues. A company barely able to meet its interest obligations with current earnings is in a very precarious financial position, as even a slight, temporary dip in revenue may render it financially insolvent.

  • Solvency ratios look at the long-term viability of a business, where liquidity ratios look at the short-term ability for a company to pay its debts and obligations.
  • If the computation is less than 1, it means the company isn’t making enough money to pay its interest payments.
  • Both solvency and liquidity ratios are useful when analyzing a company’s debt position.
  • The quick ratio is a calculation that measures a company’s ability to meet its short-term obligations with its most liquid assets.
  • Interest coverage ratio is best treated as one of several tools one should use when judging how risky an investment is.

Two somewhat common variations of the interest coverage ratio are important to consider before studying the ratios of companies. Moreover, the desirability of any particular level of this ratio is in the eye of the beholder to an extent. Some banks or potential bond buyers may be comfortable with a less desirable ratio in exchange for charging the company a higher interest rate on their debt. Peggy James is a CPA with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments. She most recently worked at Duke University and is the owner of Peggy James, CPA, PLLC, serving small businesses, nonprofits, solopreneurs, freelancers, and individuals. To get more details, let’s recreate an entire pro forma income statement.

Types Of Interest Coverage Ratios

The interest coverage ratio, sometimes referred to as the “times interest earned” ratio, is used to determine a company’s ability to pay interest on its outstanding debt. Essentially, the ratio measures how many times a business can cover its current interest payments using its available earnings. This helps you understand your margin of safety for paying interest on debt over a given period.

interest coverage ratio formula

Otherwise, the business may not be able to survive any financial hardships that they encounter in the future. The interest coverage ratio is afinancial ratiothat measures a company’s ability to make interest payments on its debt in a timely manner. Unlike thedebt service coverage ratio, this liquidity ratio really has nothing to do with being able to make principle payments on the debt itself. Instead, it calculates the firm’s ability to afford the interest on the debt.

What Is The Interest Coverage Ratio And How Do You Calculate It?

For more insights on important financial ratios, check out our complete article on Ratio Analysis. As an example, if a companies interest coverage ratio has dipped from 4x to 1.5x over a period of time – it indicates that the company has taken on more debt. One consideration of the interest coverage ratio is that earnings can fluctuate more than interest expense. It is important to look at prior trends of a particular company as the interest coverage ratio does not consider future projected earnings. In addition, as with any financial formula, no one ratio or formula should be used in isolation. You might also want to note that this formula can be used to measure any interest period.

A good rule of thumb is to not own a stock or bond with an interest coverage ratio below 1.5. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today. The Interest Coverage Ratio Calculator is used to calculate the interest coverage ratio. Free Financial Modeling Guide A Complete Guide to Financial Modeling This resource is designed to be the best free guide to financial modeling!

Primary Uses Of Interest Coverage Ratio

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interest coverage ratio formula

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What Is The Interest Coverage Ratio?

A lower interest coverage ratio means the company has less margin of safety and could be at risk of defaulting on its debt, or even have a risk of bankruptcy. A company’s ICR can also be seen as how many times a company could pay its interest expenses with its earnings before interest and taxes . So naturally, the higher the ICR is, the more dependable a company can be viewed as when it comes to repaying their debts. A company with an ICR around 8 – meaning it has eight times as much in EBIT as in debt interest – is going to have a much sunnier outlook than a company who’s ICR is only 1. The content provided on accountingsuperpowers.com and accompanying courses is intended for educational and informational purposes only to help business owners understand general accounting issues. The content is not intended as advice for a specific accounting situation or as a substitute for professional advice from a licensed CPA. Accounting practices, tax laws, and regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so speak with a local accounting professional regarding your business.

  • The formula shown for the interest coverage ratio would bring one piece of the puzzle by evaluating a company’s debt expense and revenue.
  • The big limitation to ICR, ultimately, is that EBIT doesn’t deduct taxes.
  • These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts.
  • A higher ratio means the company is in a more stable position and has profit that is many times larger than its interest payments.
  • The variable EBIT in the interest coverage ratio formula stands for earnings before interest and taxes.
  • The ratio is calculated by dividing EBIT by interest on debt expenses during a given period, usually annually.
  • The content provided on accountingsuperpowers.com and accompanying courses is intended for educational and informational purposes only to help business owners understand general accounting issues.

This would result in a sudden and steep decline in the interest coverage ratio. While this metric is often used in the context of companies, you can better grasp the concept by applying it to yourself. Add up the interest expenses from your mortgage,credit card debt, car loans, student loans, and other obligations. Then calculate the number of times the expense can be paid with your annual pre-tax income. Imagine that Company A has an EBIT of $40,000 and total interest expenses of £$5,000.

How Do Companies Use The Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio?

For example, if the company just can’t pay the interest on its debt, it means that principle payments are entirely out of the discussion. When the interest coverage ratio is calculated, the investors and creditors can have a good look at the risk and profitability of a certain company. For instance, let’s say interest rates suddenly rise on the national level, just as a company is about to refinance its low-cost, fixed-rate debt. That extra interest expense affects the company’s interest coverage ratio, even though nothing else about the business has changed. If the coverage equation equals 1, it means the company makes just enough money to pay its interest. This situation isn’t much better than the last one because the company still can’t afford to make the principle payments. The interest coverage ratio formula is calculated by dividing the EBIT, or earnings before interest and taxes, by the interest expense.

interest coverage ratio formula

Creditors can use the ratio to decide whether they will lend to the company. J.B. Maverick is a novelist, scriptwriter, and published author with 17+ years of experience in the financial industry. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy.


Of course, ICR has its limits and shouldn’t be the one thing you’re looking at. But when using it as one of the various figures you’re using to gauge the merit of a company, the higher the better. There are dozens of different ways to measure the success of a company, and how to determine whether or not you should invest in it.

In simpler terms, it represents how many times the company can pay its obligations using its earnings. Businesses need to have a sufficient level of earnings to cover their interest payments.

  • The Interest Coverage Ratio Calculator is used to calculate the interest coverage ratio.
  • Because taxes are an important financial element to consider, for a clearer picture of a company’s ability to cover its interest expenses, EBIAT can be used to calculate interest coverage ratios instead of EBIT.
  • When evaluating debt, there are two common categories of financial ratios.
  • He has 8 years experience in finance, from financial planning and wealth management to corporate finance and FP&A.
  • Some variations of the formula use EBITDA or EBIAT instead of EBIT to calculate the ratio.
  • In simpler terms, it represents how many times the company can pay its obligations using its earnings.
  • For example, if a company’s earnings before taxes and interest amount to $100,000, and its interest payment requirements total $25,000, then the company’s interest coverage ratio is 4x.

If you intend to use this measurement, there is one issue to be aware of. A company may be accruing an interest expense that is not actually due for payment yet, so the ratio can indicate a debt default that will not actually occur, until such time as the interest is due for payment. Interest coverage ratio, while helpful, is hardly the definitive tool for determining a company’s health. If you look at ICR by itself, you could miss a lot of contextual information. For example, if you’re looking at a quarterly ICR, it could be a poor season for that particular industry, and thus not an ideal way to gauge the overall health of the company. If you’re an investor, what is a decent ICR for a company you’re looking at to have?

In most cases, investors and analysts will look for interest coverage ratios of at least three, which indicate that the business’s revenues are reliable and consistent. The interest coverage ratio is also called the “times interest earned” ratio. Interest coverage ratio , also called times interest earned ratio, is a financial ratio used to understand the financial health of a business. For one to round it up, all that has to be done is to take the earnings before interest and taxes and divide them by the interest expense. This formula doesn’t take net income into account as creditors and investors – and not only – want to see how much a certain company is able to pay in interest. No investment can realistically qualify as a “safe investment.” But if you’re looking for investments that could be safer than other options, interest coverage ratio can be a very helpful tool.

When evaluating debt, there are two common categories of financial ratios. The ratio is expressed as the number of times that earnings can cover interest payments. A ratio of 1.0x means that EBIT is exactly equal to its interest expense, and is a low interest coverage ratio. Even though it is a financial ratio, the interest coverage ratio doesn’t mean everything for an investor or creditor. The big limitation to ICR, ultimately, is that EBIT doesn’t deduct taxes.

Interest Coverage Ratio Formula Variables

Reliance on any information provided on this site or courses is solely at your own risk. While the concepts discussed herein are intended to help business owners understand general accounting concepts, always speak with a CPA regarding your particular financial situation. The answer to certain tax and accounting issues is often highly dependent on the fact situation presented and your overall financial status. The cost of debt is the return that a company provides to its debtholders and creditors. ICR is used by lenders, creditors, and investors to determine the riskiness of lending money to the company. The ratio is calculated by dividing EBIT by the company’s interest expense—the higher the ratio, the more poised it is to pay its debts.

The lower the ratio, the more the company is burdened by debt expenses and the less capital it has to use in other ways. When a company’s interest coverage ratio is only 1.5 or lower, its ability to meet interest expenses may be questionable. The interest coverage ratio is used to measure how well a firm can pay the interest due on outstanding debt. A lower ratio means that the company’s profit is too, debt level is too high, or both. Business owners, managers, investors, and lenders will look to ICR to see if a company has enough profit to make its current borrowing. The income statement by itself provides a wealth of information, but there are also plenty of metrics and ratios that can be gained by comparing income statement values. The ICR for Amce Inc. in 2020 was 4.0x ($400,000 of EBIT divided by $100,000 of interest expenses incurred in that year).

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