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Interest Coverage Ratio


The Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) is a financial metric used to determine how well a company can pay the interest on its outstanding debt. It is calculated by dividing a company’s Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) by its interest expenses for the same period. A high ratio indicates a company can comfortably manage its debt payments, but a low ratio can signify high financial risk.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Interest Coverage Ratio” would be: /ˈɪn.trəst ˈkʌv.ər.ɪdʒ ˈreɪ.ʃi.oʊ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Measure of Financial Health: The Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) is a financial indicator that measures a company’s ability to pay its interest expense on its outstanding debt. It is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by its interest expense during the same period. A higher ICR indicates a more financially healthy company.
  2. Risk Assessment Tool: ICR is also used by lenders, investors, and analysts to assess the risk level of an enterprise. Companies with lower ICRs tend to be seen as higher risk because they have less cash available to meet their current interest payment requirements on debt. Conversely, firms with higher ICRs are considered to be lower risk because they can comfortably cover their interest obligations.
  3. Not a Standalone Indicator: Although the ICR is significant, it should not be used as the only tool to judge a company’s financial stability. It should be considered along with other financial ratios and indicators to get a comprehensive picture of the company’s financial condition.


The Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) is a critical financial metric in business as it measures a firm’s ability to pay the interest on its outstanding debt. ICR is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by its interest expenses for the same period. This ratio assists potential lenders and investors in assessing the risk associated with lending to or investing in a company. A high ICR indicates that a company can easily meet its interest payment obligations from operations, suggesting less risk, while a low ICR may signify higher financial risk as the company might struggle to fulfill its interest payment obligations. Hence, the Interest Coverage Ratio is a valuable tool for understanding a company’s financial health and stability.


The Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) is a financial metric that is extensively used by investors, creditors, and lenders to gauge a company’s capability to pay the interest on its debt. By measuring this ratio, they get a clear view of the firm’s financial health and sustainability. Primarily, this ratio provides an understanding of the proportion of a company’s operating income available to cover its interest expense and is crucial in debt servicing efficiency evaluation. Moreover, use of the Interest Coverage Ratio is not limited to external entities, companies themselves also utilize this ratio to identify their financial stability over time and plan their financial trajectory accordingly. A higher ratio is commonly interpreted as a positive sign as it suggests that the company is internally generating more than enough money to pay off its interest expenses. Understanding their ICR can guide firms towards better decisions regarding borrowing additional funds. To sum it up, the Interest Coverage Ratio is an essential tool that businesses and investors exploit to assess the level of financial risk a company is subject to.


1. Example 1: ABC Corporation has an annual earnings of $400,000 before interest and taxes (EBIT). The total interest expenses for its business loans for the same period amount to $200,000. Using the Interest Coverage Ratio formula (EBIT/Interest Expense), ABC’s interest coverage ratio would be 2 ($400,000/$200,000). This means ABC Corporation’s earnings are twice that of its interest obligations, indicating it’s in a sturdy financial position to repay its debt liabilities.2. Example 2: XYZ Company generated an EBIT of $5 million, and they needed to pay $2.5 million as an interest expense for a particular financial year. This gives XYZ a coverage ratio of 2 ($5 million/$2.5 million), displaying that they have enough earnings to cover their interest obligations twice over.3. Example 3: Tech Innovators Inc. has made an earning of $100 million before interest and taxes for the year. They have interest obligations amounting to $20 million for the same period. Therefore, Tech Innovators’ interest coverage ratio is 5 ($100 million/$20 million), which reveals that they are well positioned to meet their interest obligations without straining their resources.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Interest Coverage Ratio?

Interest Coverage Ratio, is a financial ratio that helps determine a business’s ability to pay its interest expenses on outstanding debt. The ratio is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by its interest expenses for the same period.

How is Interest Coverage Ratio calculated?

The Interest Coverage Ratio is calculated by dividing the Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) of a company by its interest expenses for the same period.

What does a high Interest Coverage Ratio mean?

A high Interest Coverage Ratio signifies that the company is well-equipped to service its debt. It implies the business is earning significantly more than it needs to cover its interest payments, which can be a positive sign for lenders and investors.

What does a low Interest Coverage Ratio imply?

A low Interest Coverage Ratio could be a red flag for investors as it could mean that the business is not generating enough revenue to service its debt. This could potentially lead to financial distress or bankruptcy in some cases.

Is the Interest Coverage Ratio the same for all industries?

No, the acceptable Interest Coverage Ratio varies across industries. Industries that have stable income streams can manage with a lower ratio than those that have less predictable revenues.

Why is Interest Coverage Ratio considered an important metric?

It is an important indicator for investors, creditors, and financial institutions as it helps them gauge the risk associated with lending money to the business. A higher ratio assures them that the business has a greater capacity of fulfilling its debt obligations.

When would a company want to increase its Interest Coverage Ratio?

A company might want to increase its Interest Coverage Ratio to attract investors or to qualify for a loan. A higher ratio indicates low credit risk and can provide better loan terms and conditions.

What is the difference between Interest Coverage Ratio and Debt Service Coverage Ratio?

While both ratios are used to analyze a firm’s ability to meet its debt obligations, the Interest Coverage Ratio focuses solely on the ability to pay interest expenses. On the other hand, the Debt Service Coverage Ratio takes into account both the repayment of principal and payment of interest.

Related Finance Terms

  • Earnings before Interest and Taxes (EBIT)
  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio
  • Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio
  • Total Interest Expense
  • Financial Leverage

Sources for More Information

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