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Shareholder Equity Ratio


The shareholder equity ratio, also known as the equity ratio, is a financial ratio that measures the proportion of a company’s assets that are financed by stockholder’s equity. It indicates the relative proportion of equity used to finance the company’s assets. Ultimately, it provides insight into the company’s financial structure and its financial resilience in times of economic downturns.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Definition: Shareholder Equity Ratio is a financial metric that measures the company’s financial leverage and is calculated by dividing total shareholders’ equity by total assets of the firm. It provides an understanding of the company’s financial structure and how much its assets have been financed by investors.
  2. Interpretation: A high Shareholder Equity Ratio indicates a company is largely financed by investors and shareholders, which often implies a healthy financial situation. A lower ratio suggests the company has more debt financing, which can indicate financial risk if the company fails to fulfill its obligations. Therefore, a higher ratio is typically preferred.
  3. Importance: This ratio allows investors, stakeholders, and analysts to assess the company’s financial stability and risk level. It provides insights into the company’s strategy regarding its use of equity versus debt financing, which is crucial in determining the company’s solvency and sustainability in the long run.


The Shareholder Equity Ratio is important in business/finance as it provides insight into a company’s financial health by indicating what proportion of a company’s total assets is financed by its shareholders as opposed to creditors. This ratio is crucial for potential investors and creditors as it helps them assess the financial stability, risk, and efficiency of a company. A higher equity ratio indicates a relatively lower risk for investors and creditors since it means that shareholders fund a larger portion of total assets. However, companies with lower ratios may be seen as risky because of their high dependence on creditors. Therefore, Shareholder Equity Ratio is a significant tool to make informed financial and investment decisions.


The primary purpose of the Shareholder Equity Ratio is to provide a snapshot of a company’s financial health, specifically helping investors and analysts to evaluate the measure of a company’s financial leverage. This particular ratio highlights the proportion of total assets of a company that are financed by shareholders as opposed to creditors. It helps in understanding how much shareholders have invested in the company and how well the company is utilizing these investments to generate profits. It essentially provides a broad view of the company’s capital structure and indicates the level of risk and financial stability.The Shareholder Equity Ratio is not only used by investors, but also by potential lenders and creditors. These stakeholders employ it to assess whether the company is an acceptable business risk. A high equity ratio indicates a company that has been conservative in its use of debt and has strong potential for generating steady returns. Conversely, a low equity ratio may imply a company heavily reliant on debt, which could be a red flag for potential investors or lenders. Thus, this ratio serves as an important tool for informed decision-making in business finance.


1. Apple Inc.: As of FY2020, Apple Inc. had total assets of approximately $352 billion, and total shareholders’ equity of about $69 billion. Their shareholder equity ratio was calculated by taking the shareholders’ equity and dividing it by total assets. The result was around 0.20, or 20%. This indicates that Apple shareholders funded 20% of the company’s assets, with the remaining 80% funded by liabilities.2., Inc.: As of the end of 2020, Amazon had total assets of approximately $321 billion and total shareholders’ equity of approximately $93 billion. Using these figures, the shareholder equity ratio can be calculated resulting in about 0.29, or roughly 29%. This suggests that 29% of Amazon’s assets were financed by shareholders, and the remaining part was financed by debt.3. Microsoft Corporation: As of 2020, Microsoft’s total assets were approximately $304 billion, with shareholders’ equity of $118 billion. Using these figures, the shareholder equity ratio was calculated, leading to a ratio of about 0.39 or 39%. This signifies that Microsoft’s shareholders financed 39% of the company’s total assets. The remaining 61% is made up of liabilities. In comparison to the others, Microsoft relies a bit more on shareholders for financing its assets.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Shareholder Equity Ratio?

Shareholder Equity Ratio is a financial metric that illustrates the proportion of a company’s total assets that are financed by its shareholders’ equity. It is calculated by dividing total shareholder equity by total assets.

How is Shareholder Equity Ratio Calculated?

To calculate the Shareholder Equity Ratio, you divide the total shareholder’s equity of a company by its total assets. Both numbers can be found on the company’s balance sheet.

What is the significance of Shareholder Equity Ratio in financial analysis?

The Shareholder Equity Ratio is significant in financial analysis because it provides an insight into a company’s financial leverage. A lower ratio signifies a greater financial risk as it indicates that more of the company’s financing comes from debt.

How do you interpret the Shareholder Equity Ratio?

A higher Shareholders Equity Ratio indicates a company is primarily financed by shareholders and has less debt, implying lower financial risk. On the contrary, a lower ratio means more company’s assets are financed by debt, indicating potential risk but also opportunity for higher returns.

What is considered a good Shareholder Equity Ratio?

A good Shareholder Equity Ratio varies by industry. However, a ratio above 0.5 is generally considered good, indicating the company is primarily financed by equity rather than debt.

Why is Shareholder Equity Ratio important to investors?

It’s essential to investors because it helps them assess the risk involved in a company. A higher equity ratio indicates a lower risk as the company isn’t heavily reliant on debt. Conversely, a lower ratio might put investors at greater risk as the company might struggle to repay its debts.

Can a company have negative Shareholder Equity Ratio?

Yes, a company can technically have a negative equity ratio. This happens if a company’s total shareholder equity is negative, usually due to accumulated losses over time. It generally indicates financial distress.

How does the Shareholder Equity Ratio relate to other financial ratios?

Shareholder Equity Ratio is closely related to other financial ratios like debt-to-equity ratio. While the Shareholder Equity Ratio measures the proportion of total assets financed by shareholders’ equity, debt-to-equity ratio measures the proportion of financing that comes from debt versus equity. Both ratios can be used to assess a company’s financial leverage and risk.

Related Finance Terms

  • Assets: These are the resources owned by a company. It can include everything from physical property, such as buildings and equipment, to intangible items like intellectual property rights.
  • Liabilities: These are the obligations or debts that a company owes. This can include loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues, and accrued expenses.
  • Shareholder’s Equity: Also known as stockholders’ equity, this is the amount of money that would be returned to a company’s shareholders if all of the assets were liquidated and all of the company’s debt was paid off.
  • Financial Leverage: This refers to the use of borrowed money (debt) to finance the purchase of assets, with the expectation that the income or capital gain from the new asset will exceed the cost of borrowing.
  • Balance Sheet: This is a financial statement that shows a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholder’s equity at a specific point in time. It provides a basis for computing rates of return and evaluating the company’s capital structure.

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