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Debt/EBITDA Ratio


Debt/EBITDA ratio is a financial metric that measures a company’s leverage by comparing its total debt to its Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA). It is commonly used by investors and analysts to evaluate the company’s ability to pay off its debt obligations. A lower Debt/EBITDA ratio typically indicates a healthier financial position, as it implies that the company generates enough earnings to service its debt more easily.


D-E-B-T slash E-B-I-T-D-A space R-A-T-I-O

Key Takeaways

  1. Significance: The Debt/EBITDA Ratio is a key financial metric that helps investors assess a company’s overall financial health and leverage. It measures the ability of a firm to repay its outstanding loans by comparing its total debt to its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).
  2. Interpretation: A lower Debt/EBITDA Ratio is generally preferred, indicating that a company has sufficient earnings to service its debt. Higher ratios may signal financial distress or high levels of leverage, which could make it difficult for the firm to cover its debt obligations. Typically, a ratio above 4 or 5 is considered risky, but this may vary depending on the industry and other factors.
  3. Industry Comparison: While comparing companies, it’s essential to analyze the Debt/EBITDA Ratio within the context of the specific industry, as some industries tend to have higher ratios due to capital-intensive operations. Using the ratio along with other financial metrics helps investors make informed decisions about the attractiveness of a particular investment.


The Debt/EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) Ratio is a crucial financial metric in business and finance as it helps evaluate a company’s ability to manage its debts effectively. This ratio serves as a useful indicator of a company’s creditworthiness, financial stability, and overall financial health. By comparing the total debt of a company against its EBITDA, investors, creditors, and analysts can assess the likelihood of a company to repay its outstanding liabilities and understand the time it may require to eliminate debts based on its current earnings. Generally, a lower Debt/EBITDA ratio indicates a stronger financial position and a more attractive investment prospect, while a higher ratio signals potential financial distress or increased risk in case of economic downturns or fluctuations in the business environment.


The Debt/EBITDA Ratio serves as a vital financial metric widely utilized by investors, analysts, and creditors to evaluate a company’s financial health and its ability to service its existing debts. The core purpose of this metric is to quantify the relationship between a company’s total debt and its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). By comparing the company’s financial obligations to its earnings capacity, stakeholders can gauge the firm’s ability to manage and repay its debts in a timely and efficient manner. Moreover, the Debt/EBITDA Ratio enables market participants to analyze how leveraged a company is, which indicates its risk profile relating to solvency and potential bankruptcy possibilities. A lower Debt/EBITDA Ratio generally implies a stronger financial position of a company, as it denotes that the firm generates sufficient earnings to service its debt obligations. This allays concerns amongst potential investors and creditors about the company’s default risk. In contrast, a higher ratio signals a higher debt load relative to the firm’s earnings potential, which may indicate a riskier investment prospect and could lead to difficulties in securing further financing. Additionally, the Debt/EBITDA Ratio aids in comparing companies across the same industry, assisting investors in identifying firms with better debt management and providing valuable insights to support well-informed investment decisions.


1. Tesla Inc.: In the electric vehicle industry, Tesla Inc. is a notable example of a company with a high Debt/EBITDA ratio. As of December 2020, Tesla had a Debt/EBITDA ratio of 4.76. This implies that it would take Tesla nearly five years to pay off its debt if the company devoted all of its EBITDA to debt repayment. This high ratio indicates a more significant debt burden and may concern investors who worry about the company’s ability to repay its debt obligations. 2. Apple Inc.: As a leading technology company, Apple Inc. maintains a significantly lower Debt/EBITDA ratio compared to Tesla. As of December 2020, Apple had a Debt/EBITDA ratio of around 1.5. This suggests that Apple is in a much better position to pay off its debt using its EBITDA, making it a less risky investment in terms of debt repayment capabilities. 3. AT&T Inc.: In the telecommunications sector, AT&T Inc. is known for carrying a relatively high debt load due to its extensive acquisitions and capital-intensive infrastructure investments. As of December 2020, AT&T had a Debt/EBITDA ratio of approximately 3.1. While this is lower than Tesla’s ratio, it still reflects a notable level of debt relative to the company’s EBITDA, making it a riskier investment compared to companies with lower debt levels and lower Debt/EBITDA ratios, like Apple.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Debt/EBITDA Ratio?
The Debt/EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) Ratio is a financial metric used to assess a company’s financial leverage and its ability to repay debt. It is calculated by dividing a company’s total debt by its EBITDA.
How do I calculate the Debt/EBITDA Ratio?
To calculate the Debt/EBITDA Ratio, simply divide the company’s total debt by its EBITDA. The formula is:Debt/EBITDA Ratio = Total Debt / EBITDA
What is considered a good Debt/EBITDA Ratio?
Generally, a Debt/EBITDA Ratio of less than 3 is considered healthy and acceptable for most industries. A ratio between 3 and 4 is considered moderate, while a ratio greater than 4 indicates a higher risk of possible financial distress for the company.
Why is the Debt/EBITDA Ratio important?
The Debt/EBITDA Ratio is important because it provides insight into a company’s financial stability and its ability to manage debt. A lower ratio suggests that the company has a stronger position to fulfill its debt obligations, while a higher ratio may indicate potential risk for investors and creditors.
How does the Debt/EBITDA Ratio differ from the Debt-to-Equity Ratio?
The Debt/EBITDA Ratio focuses on a company’s earnings and compares it to its debt, while the Debt-to-Equity Ratio compares the company’s total debt to its shareholders’ equity. Both ratios are used to assess a company’s financial leverage and risk, but the Debt/EBITDA Ratio provides a clearer view of a company’s ability to generate earnings and cover its debt obligations.
Can I use the Debt/EBITDA Ratio to compare companies in different industries?
While the Debt/EBITDA Ratio is useful for comparing companies within the same industry, it may not be as effective for comparing companies across different industries. This is because acceptable debt levels and capital structures can vary considerably across industries. It is generally more appropriate to compare a company’s Debt/EBITDA Ratio to industry-specific benchmarks or averages.

Related Finance Terms

  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)
  • Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR)
  • Total Debt Ratio
  • Equity Multiplier
  • Lease-adjusted Debt/EBITDAR Ratio

Sources for More Information

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