Gearing Ratio: What It Is and How to Calculate It

Without debt financing, the business may be unable to fund most of its operations and pay internal costs. The degree of gearing, whether low or high, reveals the level of financial risk that a company faces. A highly geared company is more susceptible to economic downturns and faces a greater risk of default and financial failure. This means that with the limited cash flows that the company is getting, it must meet its operational costs and make debt payments.

The Gearing Ratio measures a company’s financial leverage stemming from its capital structure decisions. Capital-intensive companies or those with a lot of fixed assets, like industrials, are likely to have more debt versus companies with fewer fixed assets. For example, utility companies typically have a high, acceptable gearing ratio since the industry is regulated. These companies have a monopoly in their market, which makes their debt less risky companies in a competitive market with the same debt levels. It’s important to compare the net gearing ratios of competing companies—that is, companies that operate within the same industry.

Financial gearing ratios are a group of popular financial ratios that compare a company’s debt to other financial metrics such as business equity or company assets. Gearing ratios represent a measure of financial leverage that determines to what degree a company’s actions are funded by shareholder equity in comparison with creditors’ funds. It is important to understand the concept of gearing ratios because most lenders and analysts use these financial ratios to assess an entity’s degree of leverage. Typically, a higher value of equity ratio and lower value of debt-to-equity ratio and debt ratio indicates sound financial health. However, please note that the gearing ratios should be compared among companies operating in the same industry, as these ratios are very industry-specific.

  1. Fewer shares outstanding can result in less share dilution and potentially lead to an elevated stock price.
  2. The degree of gearing, whether low or high, reveals the level of financial risk that a company faces.
  3. When an organisation has more debt, there is a higher risk of financial troubles and even bankruptcy.
  4. This information can be used to determine the ratio across the entire series of gears.

A company may require a large amount of capital to finance major investments such as acquiring a competitor firm or purchasing the essential assets of a firm that is exiting the market. Such investments require urgent action and shareholders may not be in a position to raise the required capital, due to the time limitations. If the business is on good terms with its creditors, it may obtain large amounts of capital quickly as long as it meets the loan requirements. Much depends on the ability of the business to grow profits and generate positive cash flow to service the debt. A mature business which produces strong and reliable cash flows can handle a much higher level of gearing than a business where the cash flows are unpredictable and uncertain.

How do you calculate gear ratio?

Gearing ratio measures a company’s financial leverage, the level of interest-bearing liabilities in its capital structure. It is most commonly calculated by dividing total debt by shareholders equity. Alternatively, it is also calculated by dividing total debt by total capital (i.e. the sum of equity and debt capital). The gearing ratio measures the proportion of a company’s borrowed funds to its equity. The ratio indicates the financial risk to which a business is subjected, since excessive debt can lead to financial difficulties.

A business that does not use debt capital misses out on cheaper forms of capital, increased profits, and more investor interest. For example, companies in the agricultural industry are affected by seasonal demands for their products. They, therefore, often need to borrow funds on at least a short-term basis.

It’s also important to note that a loss in the business leads to a decrease in overall equity and a decrease in the equity ratio. Similarly, the disposal and acquisition the assets can lead to changes in the equity ratio. Generally, a company that has a times interest earned ratio greater than 2.5 is considered an acceptable amount of risk to creditors and investors.

Detailed understanding

A company may frequently experience a shortfall in cash flows and fail to pay equity shareholders and creditors. Monopolistic companies often also have a higher gearing ratio because their financial risk is mitigated by their strong industry position. Additionally, capital-intensive industries, such as manufacturing, typically finance expensive equipment with debt, which leads to higher gearing ratios. It’s also important to remember that although high gearing ratio results indicate high financial leverage, they don’t always mean that a company is in financial distress.

A good business manager has the competence to manage all of these aspects and ensure the efficient running of the business. To calculate times interest earned, simply divide EBIT of $400,000 by interest expense of $50,000. Where EBIT is profit earned by the business without factoring in interest or tax payments and interest expense is the interest portion of debt payments intuit w-9 made to creditors. Use any methods available to increase profits, which should generate more cash with which to pay down debt. The board of directors could authorize the sale of shares in the company, which could be used to pay down debt. Amanda Bellucco-Chatham is an editor, writer, and fact-checker with years of experience researching personal finance topics.

Gearing Ratio and Risk

However, we need to add the current year’s profit amounting to $2,000 in the opening capital. Companies have to raise capital to fuel their operations, expand into new markets, finance top research and development, and outperform the competition. The amount of capital needed to facilitate and achieve a corporation’s objectives often requires external funding. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets.

There are several ways a company can try to indirectly manage and control its gearing ratio, usually by profit, debt and expense management​​. Please note that the use of debt for financing a firm’s operations is not necessarily a bad thing. The extra income from a loan can help a business to expand its operations, enter new markets and improve business offerings, all of which could improve profitability in the long term. This relationship in which the gear turns at one-third of the pinion speed is a result of the number of teeth on the pinion and the larger gear. This relationship is called the gear teeth – pinion teeth ratio or the gear ratio. Two Gear Train is a type of Simple gear train with two connected gears.

This means a high return on investment by shareholders, giving potential investors the confidence to invest in the underlying company. A high equity ratio also convinces lenders that the firm is sustainable and can guarantee future loan repayments. Equity financing is generally cheaper than debt financing due to the high interest rates charged on loans. A high gearing ratio is indicative of a great deal of leverage, where a company is using debt to pay for its continuing operations.

High gearing ratio vs low gearing ratio

There are many types of gearing ratios, but a common one to use is the debt-to-equity ratio. To calculate it, you add up the long-term and short-term debt and divide it by the shareholder equity. If you don’t have any shareholders, then you (the owner) are the only shareholder, and the equity in this equation is yours. Lenders may use gearing ratios to decide whether or not to extend credit, and investors may use them to determine whether or not to invest in a business. A high gearing ratio can be a blessing or a curse—depending on the company and industry.

A higher gearing ratio indicates that a company has a higher degree of financial leverage and is more susceptible to downturns in the economy and the business cycle. This is because companies that have higher leverage have higher amounts of debt compared to shareholders’ equity. Entities with a high gearing ratio have higher amounts of debt to service, while companies with lower gearing ratio calculations have more equity to rely on for financing. The Gear ratio is the ratio of the number of teeth of the driven or output gear and the driver or input gear.

Further, retained earnings are also included in the equity section to reflect business performance. This ratio compares debt proportion with equity, and it helps to highlight the extent of debt to equity. If the debt is more, the lender may be reluctant to disburse the funds because of the higher risk. Another perspective of gearing assessment is the ability of the business to cover the interest it pays from period to period. Further, business with a higher debt proportion is exposed to higher economic fluctuations.

That’s because each industry has its own capital needs and relies on different growth rates. Businesses that rely heavily on leverage to invest in property or manufacturing equipment often have high D/E ratios. Gearing ratios are important financial metrics because they can help investors and analysts understand how much leverage a company has compared to its equity. Put simply, it tells you how much a company’s operations are funded by a form of equity versus debt. Although this figure alone provides some information as to the company’s financial structure, it is more meaningful to benchmark this figure against another company in the same industry. While this setup demonstrates a gear reduction in terms of speed, in return it provides us with an output that has more torque, when compared to the input.