Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) – Meaning, Formula, Interpretation

When calculating the Interest Coverage Ratio, what should I look for specifically?

A company’s capacity to make interest payments on its debts may be evaluated using the interest coverage ratio, which is a debt and profitability ratio.

Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR)

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) are used to determine the interest coverage ratio by dividing by interest payments made within a certain time frame.

Instead, the interest coverage ratio may be referred to as the times interest earned (TIE) ratio. This method is often used by lenders, investors, and creditors to assess the degree of risk associated with a company’s existing debt and potential new borrowing.

Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) - What's Considered a Good


How well a company can afford to pay the interest on its debt is quantified using the interest coverage ratio.

  • Interest coverage may be determined by comparing a company’s EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) to its interest payments over a certain time frame.
  • To get a different result, several formulas substitute EBITDA or EBIAT for EBIT in the calculation.
  • While the appropriate coverage ratio likely varies by sector, a larger coverage ratio is preferable in most cases.
  • An Explanation of the Interest Coverage Ratio Formula and How It Is Calculated
  • The term “coverage” refers to the number of periods of time, usually quarters or fiscal years, that interest payments may be met out of a company’s present profits.
  • Simply said, it indicates how many times the company’s current profits are sufficient to cover its current debts.
  • A lower ratio indicates that interest and principal payments on debt are taking a greater portion of the company’s cash flow, leaving less money for investment or growth. It’s reasonable to question a company’s solvency if its interest coverage ratio is 1.5 or below.
  • In order to weather potential financial storms, companies should keep reserves of cash greater than the amount of interest they pay out each year.

As a measure of solvency, a company’s interest payment history has a direct bearing on the return it can provide its investors.

Clarification of the Interest Coverage Ratio

Maintaining sufficient cash flow to cover interest expenses is a continuous and vital challenge for every business.

When a business starts to have trouble meeting its financial commitments, it may have to resort to taking on more debt or using cash that would be better put toward investing in long-term assets or saving for unexpected events.

Analyzing interest coverage ratios over time may frequently provide a far better sense of a company’s status and direction than looking at a single ICR.

Investors may get a good sense of a company’s short-term financial health by comparing quarterly interest coverage ratios over a certain period of time (say, the previous five years) to see whether the ratio is increasing, dropping, or staying about the same.

Also, the optimal value of this ratio is quite subjective. A less-than-ideal ratio may be acceptable to certain banks or prospective bond purchasers in return for a higher interest rate on the company’s debt.

This is an Illustration of the Interest Coverage Ratio

Let’s pretend a business makes $625,000 in a quarter but must pay $30,000 in monthly interest and principal on its obligations.

The interest coverage ratio would be determined by dividing the monthly interest payments by three to get the quarterly payments (the remaining quarters in the calendar year).

$625,000 / $90,000 ($30,000 x 3) = 6.94 is the interest coverage ratio for the business. Thus, there are no present liquidity issues at the organization.

Nevertheless, if a company’s interest coverage ratio falls below 1.5, its risk for default may be seen as too great by lenders, and they may refuse to lend the business any more money.

A ratio below one indicates that the corporation will have to dip into its cash reserves or take on more debt, both of which are challenging for the reasons given above.

Otherwise, the firm faces insolvency even if monthly profits are low for only one month.

Common Interest Coverage Ratio Variations

Before diving into the ratios of different organizations, it’s vital to keep in mind two typical variants of the interest coverage ratio. Variations in EBIT are the source of these shifts in meaning.

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Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) may be used as an alternative to EBIT to determine the interest coverage ratio.

  • Due to the omission of depreciation and amortization, calculations using EBITDA often result in a larger numerator than those use EBIT.
  • To get the same interest coverage ratio, whether you use EBIT or EBITDA as the denominator, the former will be greater.
  • Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIAT) is an alternative to EBIT that may be used to determine the interest coverage ratio.
  • In order to provide a more true picture of a company’s capacity to pay its interest charges, this has the effect of subtracting tax expenditures from the numerator.

EBIAT, which includes taxes, may be used in instead of EBIT to compute interest coverage ratios, providing a more accurate depiction of a company’s capacity to meet its interest obligations.

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