Shares of AstraZeneca Inc. AZN increased by 0.09% in the past three months. Before having a look at the importance of debt, let’s look at how much debt AstraZeneca has.
According to the AstraZeneca’s most recent financial statement as reported on March 7, 2017, total debt is at $16.81 billion, with $14.50 billion in long-term debt and $2.31 billion in current debt. Adjusting for $5.02 billion in cash-equivalents, the company has a net debt of $11.79 billion.
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 includes 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.
To understand the degree of financial leverage a company has, investors look at the debt ratio. Considering AstraZeneca’s $62.53 billion in total assets, the debt-ratio is at 0.27. As a rule of thumb, a debt-ratio more than 1 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. For example, a debt ratio of 25% might be higher for one industry, but normal for another.
Why Investors Look At Debt?
Debt is an important factor in the capital structure of a company, and can help it attain growth. Debt usually has a relatively lower financing cost than equity, which makes it an attractive option for executives.
However, interest-payment obligations can have an adverse impact on the cash-flow of the company. Having financial leverage also allows companies to use additional capital for business operations, allowing equity owners to retain excess profit, generated by the debt capital.
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