February 4, 2023

Schnitzer Steel Industries: Debt Overview


Over the past three months, shares of Schnitzer Steel Indus (NASDAQ:SCHN) increased by 7.02%. Before we understand the importance of debt, let us look at how much debt Schnitzer Steel Indus has.

Schnitzer Steel Indus’s Debt

Based on Schnitzer Steel Indus’s balance sheet as of October 21, 2021, long-term debt is at $71.30 million and current debt is at $3.65 million, amounting to $74.95 million in total debt. Adjusted for $27.82 million in cash-equivalents, the company’s net debt is at $47.13 million.

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.

Shareholders look at the debt-ratio to understand how much financial leverage a company has. Schnitzer Steel Indus has $1.49 billion in total assets, therefore making the debt-ratio 0.05. 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 25% might be higher for one industry and normal for another.

Why Debt Is Important

Besides equity, debt is an important factor in the capital structure of a company, and contributes to its growth. Due to its lower financing cost compared to equity, it becomes an attractive option for executives trying to raise capital.

Interest-payment obligations can impact 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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