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Times Interest Earned (TIE)


Times Interest Earned (TIE), also known as the interest coverage ratio, is a financial ratio that measures a company’s ability to meet its debt obligations, specifically the interest on its debts. It is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by its interest expense for a given period. A higher TIE means the company can more easily cover its interest expenses, showing better financial health.


The phonetics of “Times Interest Earned (TIE)” would be pronounced as: “tahymz in-ter-ist urnd (tee eye ee)”

Key Takeaways


  1. The Times Interest Earned (TIE) or Interest Coverage Ratio is a financial metric that compares a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to its interest expenses. It is used to measure a company’s ability to meet its debt obligations.
  2. A high TIE ratio implies that a company is in a good position to cover its interest payments from its operating earnings. It usually indicates strong financial health and lower credit risk. On the other hand, a low TIE ratio can be a red flag, suggesting a company might have difficulties servicing its debt.
  3. Analysts and investors frequently use TIE as an indicator in financial analysis. However, it should not be relied upon solely to determine a company’s financial solvency. It’s always a good practice to use other financial indicators like the Debt Ratio or the Current Ratio alongside the TIE to obtain a more comprehensive picture of a company’s financial position.



The Times Interest Earned (TIE), also known as the interest coverage ratio, is a significant measurement in business finance because it provides insight into a company’s ability to meet its interest obligations from its operating income. A high TIE ratio often indicates that a business has sufficient earnings to pay interest expenses on its debt, signifying a strong financial position. Conversely, a low TIE ratio could suggest financial instability, as it may struggle to fulfill its interest payment obligations. Hence, it serves as a crucial indicator for investors and creditors when evaluating the financial health of a business or its risk level for investing or loaning money.


The Times Interest Earned (TIE), also referred to as the Interest Coverage Ratio, is a critical financial metric predominantly used by lenders, investors, and financial analysts to evaluate a company’s financial health and its ability to service its debt. It is crucial in gauging the level of risk a potential lender or investor might be exposed to if they were to extend capital to a business. It provides insight into how comfortably a company can meet its interest obligations on its outstanding debt from its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). In essence, the TIE ratio measures the cushion or margin of safety a company has for paying interest on its debt.Evidently, a higher TIE indicates a company’s minimal financial risk and an ample amount of earnings to cover its interest expenses, increasing the confidence of stakeholders. A lower TIE, on the other hand, suggests irregular earnings and higher debt, making a company less attractive to lenders and investors. Therefore, companies aim to maintain a high TIE to increase their creditworthiness and appeal to investors. It is important to note that while a high TIE is generally preferred, extremely high values could suggest that a company is not efficiently utilizing debt to finance its growth. Consequently, the optimal TIE depends on the industry and the specific company’s financial strategy.


Times Interest Earned (TIE) is a financial metric that indicates a company’s ability to meet its debt obligations. It’s calculated by dividing earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by the total interest payable on bonds and other debt. 1. **Company A**: In 2020, Company A had earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of $500,000. Its total interest payable was $50,000. Divide $500,000 by $50,000, and the TIE ratio is 10. This means that Company A earned 10 times the interest it needs to pay, indicating a good ability to cover its debt.2. **Company B**: In the same year, another company did not perform as well. Company B had an EBIT of $200,000 and total interest payable of $100,000. Its TIE ratio is therefore 2. This means it only earned twice the amount of its interest obligations. While it can still cover its debt, it doesn’t have as much buffer as Company A, suggesting a higher financial risk.3. **Company C**: On the contrary, Company C had a bad financial year in 2020 with the EBIT of only $30,000 and its total interest payable on its debt was $40,000. Calculating the TIE ratio would result in a figure less than 1 (0.75 in this case) which implies that the company did not earn enough to meet its interest expenses. This is a clear financial red flag and potentially a sign of impending bankruptcy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Times Interest Earned (TIE)?

Times Interest Earned (TIE), also known as Interest Coverage Ratio, is a financial metric used to measure a company’s ability to meet its debt obligations. It is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings (before interest and taxes) by the interest expenses.

How can I calculate TIE?

TIE can be calculated using the formula: TIE = Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) / Interest Expenses.

What does a high TIE ratio indicate?

A high TIE ratio indicates that a company is able to meet its interest payments comfortably from its operating profit. This reflects positively on the financial health of the company.

What does a low TIE ratio indicate?

A low TIE ratio implies that the company is finding it harder to meet its interest obligations. This could be a red flag for financial distress and a company may have difficulties in repaying its debts.

How often should a company calculate its TIE?

This may vary depending on a company’s internal practices and financial status, but generally, TIE should be evaluated on a quarterly or annual basis for a comprehensive understanding of the company’s financial strength.

Is a negative TIE ratio possible?

Yes, a negative TIE ratio is possible when a company reports negative earnings or EBIT. This suggests the company is not earning enough to cover its interest expenses.

Can TIE be used for comparing different companies?

Yes, TIE can be used to compare the financial strength of similar companies within the same industry. However, it is important to consider other financial metrics and industry averages when comparing different companies.

What is a good TIE ratio?

What is considered a ‘good’ TIE ratio may vary depending on the industry, but generally, a TIE ratio of 1.5 or higher is often considered acceptable. However, a higher ratio is always preferred.

Related Finance Terms

  • Interest Expense: The monetary cost of borrowing funds from lenders. The expense is calculated as the interest rate multiplied by the amount of money borrowed.
  • Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT): A measure of a company’s earning power from ongoing operations, equal to earnings before deduction of interest payments and income taxes.
  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR): A financial ratio that measures the company’s ability to pay their debts.
  • Credit Rating: An evaluation of the credit risk of a prospective debtor, predicting their ability to pay back the debt.
  • Financial Leverage: A strategy to multiply gains and losses by supplementing investments with borrowed money.

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