Interest Coverage Ratio Definition 2022

Interest Coverage Ratio

1. What Is the Interest Coverage Ratio?

The best interest coverage ratio is a debt and profitability ratio used to figure out how easy paying interest on its debts is. EBIT is a company’s earnings before taxes and interest. It isHealth divided by the company’s interest expense for a given period to get the interest cover ratio.

If you want to discuss how well your debt is covered, you can call it your time’s income earned (TIE) ratio. Investors, Lenders, and creditors often use this formula to determine how risky a company is based on how much debt it has now or how much it plans to borrow in the future.


  • Using the interest coverage ratio, a firm’s ability to pay interest on debt may be evaluated.
  • EBIT (profits before interest and taxes) is divided by interest expenditure to arrive at the interest coverage for a particular period.
  • Instead of calculating the ratio using EBIT, other formulas employ EBITDA or EBIAT.
  •  In general, a higher coverage ratio is better, but the ideal ratio for each industry may be different.

2. Understanding the Interest Coverage Ratio

An interest coverage ratio measures how long a company’s current revenues can be used to pay interest on its debts, often in terms of quarters or fiscal years. It measures how many times a company’s profits may be used to meet its financial commitments.

The formula used is:

Interest Coverage Ratio = EBIT / Interest Expense    


EBIT=Earnings before interest and taxes​

The lower the debt-to-capital ratio, the greater the burden of debt on the corporation and the smaller the amount of available capital for other purposes. A ratio of 1.5 or below indicates a company’s capacity to satisfy interest costs.

To survive any financial storms that may come their way in the future, even if they are difficult to predict, companies must generate enough to meet interest payments. The capacity of a business to satisfy its interest commitments is an essential part of its solvency and hence a determinant in return for shareholders.

3. Importance of the Interest Coverage Ratio

Any company needs to ensure it doesn’t fall behind on interest payments. In the first place, when a company can’t pay its debts, it may have to borrow more money or dip into its cash reserve, which is a better use of funds.

While a single interest coverage can tell you a lot about a company’s current financial situation, looking at interest coverage ratios over time can often give you a better picture of a company’s current and future financial situation.

A company’s interest coverage is a good way for investors to see if the ratio is getting better, getting poorer, or staying the same over the last five years. This lets them know how well the company is taking care of its short-term finances.

Furthermore, the level of this desirable ratio is up to the person who sees it. Some banks or people who want to buy bonds might be okay with a balance that is not as best as it should be in exchange for charging the company a higher interest rate on their debt.

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4. Example of the Interest Coverage Ratio 

It might be that a company makes $625,000 in profits during a given quarter. It also has debts that it must pay $30,000 a month on. To calculate the interest coverage ratio example here, one would need to convert to the monthly interest payments in to quarterly payments by multiplying them by 3. If you take $625,000 and divide it by $90,000, you get 6.94. This means that the company has no problems with money right now.

To keep in mind, a company’s ratio must be at least 1.5 to be considered a good one. Lenders aren’t likely to give the company more money if it’s below that number because they think it’s too risky.

To make up the difference, a company may have to spend some of its cash reserves or borrow more money, which will be challenging because of the reasons above. Otherwise, even if the company loses money for a single month, it could still go out of business.

5. Types of Interest Coverage Ratios

Before looking at a company’s financial parameters, it’s vital to know two frequent versions of the interest coverage ratio. Changes to EBIT are to blame for these discrepancies.


Using EBITDA instead of EBIT as the basis for calculating the interest coverage ratio is one example of a variant. Because EBITDA does not include depreciation & amortization, the numerator tends to be greater in these computations than it would be if they used EBIT. Calculations utilizing EBITDA provide a larger ratio than those using EBIT since interest costs are the same in all scenarios.


When calculating the interest coverage ratio, another method substitutes EBIT for earnings before interest and taxes (EBIAT). A company’s capacity to pay its interest charges is more accurately depicted when tax expenditures are deducted from the numerator. Using EBIAT instead of EBIT to determine interest coverage ratios provides a more accurate view of a company’s capacity to pay its interest costs.

6. Limitations of the Interest Coverage Ratio

Investors must understand the limits of the  ratio before utilizing it to evaluate the efficiency of their business decisions.

The interest coverage of corporations in various sectors, and even companies within the same industry, varies greatly, as is well known. An interest coverage ratio of two is a standard benchmark for well-established corporations in some sectors, such as a utility.

Despite a relatively low-interest coverage ratio, a well-established utility is likely to dependably meet its interest payments even if it has relatively low production and income level. Industries like manufacturing, which are notoriously unstable, frequently have ratios of three or more as a standard for acceptable risk.

In general, the business conditions of these firms are more volatile. To illustrate this point, vehicle sales plummeted during the economic downturn of 2008. 1 Another unanticipated occurrence that might harm interest coverage ratios is a strike by employees. A larger capacity to fund interest payments is required in this sector due to the more volatile nature of its profits.

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For this reason, a company’s ratio should be compared to that of other companies in the same sector, especially those with comparable business structures and revenue levels.

Although the interest coverage ratio considers all debt, some firms prefer to exclude or isolate certain forms of debt when calculating their ratio. Because of this, it is critical to verify that a company’s self-reported interest coverage ratio includes all of its loans.

7. What Does Interest Coverage Ratio Tell You?

The best interest coverage ratio is a crucial indicator when it comes to a company’s debt service coverage. A plethora of debt ratios may be used to assess the health of a company’s finances. To make interest payments, the word “coverage” refers to the amount of time, usually the number of fiscal years, during which the corporation can do so with its existing profits. It measures how many times a company’s profits may be used to meet its financial commitments.

8. How Is the Interest Coverage Ratio Calculated?

The ratio is computed by dividing EBIT (or any variant) by interest on debt costs (the cost of borrowing financing) over a certain period, commonly a calendar year.

9. What Is a Good Interest Coverage Ratio?

A debt-to-equity ratio greater than one shows that a firm has demonstrated the capacity to cover its obligations with its profits or that it has demonstrated the ability to sustain revenues at a relatively constant level. Meanwhile an interest coverage ratio of 1.5 may be considered acceptable at the bare minimum, analysts and investors prefer a balance of two or higher to be considered reasonable. If a company’s sales have historically been erratic, the interest coverage ratio may not be satisfied until it is higher than three.

10. What Does the Bad Interest Coverage Ratio Indicate?

A terrible interest ratio is any value that is less than one, which indicates that the company’s current profits are inadequate to pay the interest on its existing loans. Even though with an interest coverage ratio below 1.5, the likelihood of a firm continuing to satisfy its interest expenditures on an ongoing basis is still questionable, mainly if the company is susceptible to seasonal or cyclical drops in sales.

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