Over the past three months, shares of IBM (NYSE:IBM) moved higher by 0.87%. Before we understand the importance of debt, let us look at how much debt IBM has.
Based on IBM’s balance sheet as of November 5, 2021, long-term debt is at $46.93 billion and current debt is at $7.58 billion, amounting to $54.50 billion in total debt. Adjusted for $7.46 billion in cash-equivalents, the company’s net debt is at $47.05 billion.
Let’s define some of the terms we used in the paragraph above. Current debt is the portion of a company’s debt which is due within 1 year, while long-term debt is the portion due in more than 1 year. Cash equivalents include cash and any liquid securities with maturity periods of 90 days or less. Total debt equals current debt plus long-term debt minus cash equivalents.
To understand the degree of financial leverage a company has, shareholders look at the debt ratio. Considering IBM’s $144.21 billion in total assets, the debt-ratio is at 0.38. As a rule of thumb, a debt-ratio more than one indicates that a considerable portion of debt is funded by assets. A higher debt-ratio can also imply that the company might be putting itself at risk for default, if interest rates were to increase. However, debt-ratios vary widely across different industries. A debt ratio of 35% might be higher for one industry and normal for another.
Why Shareholders Look At Debt?
Debt is an important factor in the capital structure of a company, and can help it attain growth. Debt usually has a relatively lower financing cost than equity, which makes it an attractive option for executives.
However, interest-payment obligations can have an adverse impact on the cash-flow of the company. Equity owners can keep excess profit, generated from the debt capital, when companies use the debt capital for its business operations.
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