Debt To Equity Ratio

Updated on May 9, 2024
Article bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Debt To Equity Ratio?

Debt to Equity Ratio is calculated by dividing the company’s shareholder equity by the total debt, thereby reflecting the overall leverage of the company and thus its capacity to raise more debt.

Debt to Equity Ratio

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For eg:
Source: Debt To Equity Ratio (wallstreetmojo.com)

By using the D/E ratio, the investors get to know how a firm is doing in capital structure; and how solvent the firm is as a whole. When an investor decides to invest in a company, she needs to know the company’s approach.

Key Takeaways

  • Debt-to-equity ratio is a financial ratio that measures a firm’s total debt to its total equity.
  • Using this ratio, the investors can understand how the firm performs in capital structure; and the firm’s solvency.
  • Investors may use this method during investing in a company. Usually, investors, analysts, and creditors use it to examine a company’s risk.
    The higher ratio indicates that the company is more leveraged, and the banker may reject such an organization’s loan request.

Debt To Equity Ratio Explained

A debt to equity ratio analysis shows the proportion of debt and shareholders’ equity in the business’s capital structure. These are the two most widely used methods for financing any business. It helps investors assess how solvent the company is and its level of reliance on debt or equity. If the debt is more than equity, then the company is said to be highly leveraged or has a risky capital structure.

The total liabilities are higher than the shareholders’ equity. The investor would think about whether to invest in the company or not; because having too much debt is too risky for a firm in the long run.

If the company’s total liabilities are too low compared to the shareholders’ equity, the investor would also think twice about investing in the company; because then, the company’s capital structure is not conducive enough to achieve financial leverage. However, good debt to equity ratio is possible if the company balances both internal and external finance, the investor might feel that the company is ideal for investment.


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Source: Debt To Equity Ratio (wallstreetmojo.com)

Pepsi Debt to Equity was at around 0.50x in 2009-1010. However, it started rising rapidly and is at 2.792x currently. It looks like an over-leveraged situation.

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Debt to Equity Ratio Formula in Video


Equity debt is a formula viewed as a long-term solvency ratio. It compares “external finance” and “internal finance.”

Let’s have a look at the formula –

In the numerator, we will take the “total liabilities” of the firm; and in the denominator, we will consider shareholders’ equity. As shareholders’ equity also includes “preferred stock,” we will also consider that.


Let’s take a simple example to illustrate the ideal debt to equity ratio formula.

Youth Company has the following information –

  • Current Liabilities – $49,000
  • Non-current Liabilities – $111,000
  • Common Stocks – 20,000 shares of $25 each
  • Preferred Stocks – $140,000

Find out the debt-equity ratio of the Youth Company.

In this example, we have all the information. All we need to do is find out the total liabilities and the total shareholders’ equity.

  • Total liabilities = (Current liabilities + Non-current liabilities) = ($49,000 + $111,000) = $160,000.
  • Total shareholders’ equity = (Common stocks + Preferred stocks) = [(20,000 * $25) + $140,000] = [$500,000 + $140,000] = $640,000.
  • Debt equity ratio = Total liabilities / Total shareholders’ equity = $160,000 / $640,000 = ¼ = 0.25.
  • So the debt to equity of Youth Company is 0.25.

In a normal situation, a ratio of 2:1 is considered healthy. From a generic perspective, Youth Company could use a little more external financing, and it will also help them access the benefits of financial leverage.


We can use the following formula of the ideal debt to equity ratio Calculator

Total Liabilities
Shareholders' Equity
Debt to Equity Ratio Formula

Debt to Equity Ratio Formula =
Total Liabilities
Shareholders' Equity
= 0

Calculate Debt Equity Ratio In Excel

Let us now do the same example above in Excel.

This is very simple. We need to provide the two inputs of total liabilities and the total shareholders’ equity.

We can easily calculate good debt to equity ratio ratio in the template provided.

First, we will find out the Total Liabilities and shareholders’ Equity.

total liabilities and shareholders equity

Now We will calculate the Debt Equity Ratio using the debt to equity ratio formula.


You can download this template here – Debt to Equity Ratio Excel Template.


The debt to equity ratio interpretation reveals the following.

  • The debt to equity ratio analysis is a prevalent ratio regarding solvency.
  • If an investor wants to know a company’s solvency, equity debt would be the first ratio to cross her mind.
  • By using debt to equity, the investor understands the immediate stance of the company and can understand the company’s long-term future.
  • For example, if a company is using too little external finance, through debt to equity, the investor would be able to understand that the company is trying to become a whole-equity firm. And as a result, the firm wouldn’t be able to use the financial leverage in the long run.

Debt To Equity Ratio Vs Current Ratio

Let us understand the difference between the above two ratios.

  • The former measures the proportion of debt and equity in the capital structure of the company whereas the latter measures the capacity of the company to meet its current financial obligations.
  • The former is related to long term and the latter is related to short term.
  • The debt to equity ratio interpretation helps investors assess the business’s solvency, and the latter helps assess the business’s current liquidity position.
  • The former uses long and short term loans, bonds and equity for calculation and the latter uses items like cash, inventory, accounts receivable, current debts and payables etc for its calculation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why debt-to-equity ratio is essential?

The debt-to-equity ratio displays the risk related to the company and how its capital structure is put up and operated. In addition, it enables an understanding of how the company utilizes debt to manage the business and its financial leverage

What is the long-term debt-to-equity ratio?

The long-term debt-to-equity ratio compares long-term debt to its equity, such as loans. Therefore, this includes all of the company’s debt with a maturity of more than one year.

Is the debt-to-equity ratio a liquidity ratio?

Debt-to-equity ratio is considered a financial and liquidity ratio. It indicates how much debt and equity a company uses. It represents the company’s capital structure and is evaluated by dividing its debts by shareholders’ equity.

Are lease liabilities included in the debt-to-equity ratio?

Yes, lease liabilities are generally included in the debt-to-equity ratio. Therefore, lease liabilities are recorded on a company’s balance sheet and classified as current or non-current liabilities.

This has guide to what is Debt To Equity Ratio. We explain its formula, importance, difference with current ratio along with example, calculator. You may also have a look at these articles below to learn more about Financial Analysis –