UPSC Prelims Economy Questions & Answers 2013-2023

(1)It helps in understanding the present risk of a firm
that a bank is going to give a loan to. (2) It helps in evaluating the emerging risk of a firm that
a bank is going to give a loan to. (3) The higher a borrowing firm’s level of Interest
Coverage Ratio, the worse is its ability to service its debt.

  • (3) It will enormously increase the growth and size of the economy of India and will enable it to overtake China in the near future.
  • (1) Tax revenue as a percent of GDP of India has steadily increased in the last decade.
  • The interest coverage ratio is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by its interest expense during a given period.
  • (2) It will drastically reduce the ‘Current Account Deficit’ of India and will enable it to increase its foreign exchange reserves.

From the above given particulars, let us calculate the various leverage ratios using the corresponding formulas. This is a significant tool utilized to check the capital structure of the firm. This ratio denotes the link between the owner’s capital and the amount borrowed by the firm on which recurrent payment is made. For each variation, we’ll divide the appropriate cash flow metric by the total interest expense amount due in that particular year. Besides the mandatory repayment of the original debt principal by the date of maturity, the borrower must also service its interest expense payments on schedule to avoid defaulting. (1) These guidelines help improve the transparency in the methodology followed by banks for determining the interest rates on advances.

They indicate how much of an organization’s capital comes from debt – a substantial indication of whether a business can make good on its fiscal obligations. We use DealScan information in combination with detailed firm-level data from Compustat to generate a predictive regression of the relevant ICR threshold at the firm level. Our firm-level predictors include industry, firm size, book leverage, cash holdings, and profitability.

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The ratio is calculated by dividing EBIT (or some variation thereof) by interest on debt expenses (the cost of borrowed funding) during a given period, usually annually. Because of such wide variations across industries, a company’s ratio should be evaluated to others in the same industry—and, ideally, those who have similar business models and revenue numbers. A well-established utility will likely have consistent production and revenue, particularly due to government regulations; so, even with a relatively low-interest coverage ratio, it may be able to reliably cover its interest payments. Other industries, such as manufacturing, are much more volatile and may often have a higher minimum acceptable interest coverage ratio of three or higher. For one, it is important to note that interest coverage is highly variable when measuring companies in different industries and even when measuring companies within the same industry. For established companies in certain industries, such as a utility company, an interest coverage ratio of two is often an acceptable standard.

But lower coverage ratios are often suitable for companies that fall in certain industries, including those that are heavily regulated. For instance, it’s not useful to compare a utility company (which normally has a low coverage ratio) with a retail store. However, as the Twin Balance Sheet problem became a major news item, the Reserve Bank of India took strict measures to address the Non-Performing Assets issue. Upon studying the interest coverage ratio of various companies, it is clear that banks gave loans to zombies without much consideration leading to the Non-Performing Asset (NPA) or bad loan crisis. The loans given by banks is often necessary for the growth of companies.

  • However, the pace of the required reinvestments (i.e. Capex) to fund the growth is also rapidly increasing in line with the EBITDA growth.
  • This ratio gives details on which type of financing to be utilized so as to focus on the long-term solvency position of the firm.
  • (2) These guidelines help ensure availability of bank credit at interest rates which are fair to the borrowers as well as the banks.
  • We use this insight and information in debt contract covenants to construct an index of corporate vulnerability based on the fraction of debt held by firms with ICRs below their relevant distress thresholds.
  • The interest coverage ratio is sometimes called the times interest earned (TIE) ratio.

In sum, there is significant variation across firms and industries in interest coverage ratios. The Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) is a financial ratio that is used to determine how well a company can pay the interest on its outstanding debts. The ICR is commonly used by lenders, creditors, and investors to determine the riskiness of lending capital to a company.

Significance and Use of Interest Coverage Ratio

However, individuals must become familiar with the shortcomings of this financial metric to make better use of it. On the other hand, industries with fluctuating sales, like technology, manufacturing, etc., manifest a higher IRC ratio. Consequently, the ‘good interest coverage ratio’ for both such sectors will be different. Nonetheless, it must be noted that a high EBIT may not be reliable proof of a high ICR. This ratio can be used to check the number of times EBITDA can be used to service the interest expense post the capex deduction. The coverage ratio is utilized to check how much margin is available after paying off the obligation, which occurs in the course of leveraging the business.

Financial institutions like banks always check the ability of the corporate firms to repay the debt before sanctioning the loan. Similarly, both shareholders and investors can also use this ratio to make decisions about their investments. Most investors may not want to put their money into a company that isn’t financially sound. What is the importance of the term “Interest Coverage
Ratio” of a firm in India?

The average HML ICR for the nonfinancial corporate sector is about 9.4, or around 2.5 times the average ICR. In addition, about one third of the firms–measured by debt size–in the corporate sector has ICRs lower than 2, on average. Across industries, sectors such as Electricity and Communications have low average HML ICRs, and industries such Ex-Oil Manufacturing and Services have significantly higher average HML ICRs. The average percentages of debt at risk also vary across industries, reaching as low as 24 percent for Communications and as high as 47 percent for Services.


This index displays a very strong countercyclical pattern since the 1970s, with particularly high levels in the late 1980s and in the Great Recession. Another variation uses earnings before interest after taxes (EBIAT) instead of EBIT in interest coverage ratio calculations. This has the effect of deducting tax expenses from the numerator in an attempt to render a more accurate picture of a company’s ability to pay its interest expenses. Because taxes are an important financial element to consider, for a clearer picture of a company’s ability to cover its interest expenses, EBIAT can be used to calculate interest coverage ratios instead of EBIT. However, a high ratio may also indicate that a company is overlooking opportunities to magnify their earnings through leverage.

Debt Ratio

It acts as a solvency check for the business organisation using which financial advisors, business analysts and investors can determine the ability of a business or a company to pay off the accumulated interest on the debt they are holding. A coverage ratio below 1 indicates the firm cannot meet its current interest payment obligations. In such cases, the interest coverage ratio is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by its interest expense during a given period. Regular monitoring of the Interest Coverage Ratio is essential to keep track of a company’s financial health. It enables timely identification of potential issues and allows management to take corrective measures.

The lower the ratio, the more the company is burdened by debt expenses and the less capital it has to use in other ways. When a company’s interest coverage ratio is only 1.5 or lower, its ability to meet interest expenses may be questionable. This indicates that Unreal Inc. has the ability to pay the interest on the debt 9 times in an accounting year. Determining this ratio helps the lenders, investors, stockholders and debenture holders with the data on how efficiently the business or the company is able to make payment for interest due on the long term borrowings of the business. If a company has a low-interest coverage ratio, there’s a high chance that the company won’t be able to service its debt. The interest coverage ratio is a debt and profitability ratio used to determine how easily a firm can pay or cover the interest on its outstanding debt.

A low-interest coverage ratio means there is a low amount of profit available to meet the interest expense on the debt. Also, if the company has variable-rate debt, the interest expense will rise in a rising interest-rate environment. With reference to the international trade of India at
present, which of the following statements is/are correct?

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of finance, the interest coverage ratio continues to provide valuable insights into a company’s fiscal health and its ability to navigate the tides of economic uncertainty. For example, during the recession of 2008, car sales dropped substantially, hurting the auto manufacturing industry. A workers’ strike is another example of an unexpected event that may hurt interest coverage ratios. Because these industries are more prone to these fluctuations, they must rely on a greater ability to cover their interest to account for periods of low earnings. Interest coverage ratio is also known as debt service coverage ratio or debt service ratio.

The interest coverage ratio is an important figure not only for creditors but also for shareholders and investors alike. Creditors want to know whether a company will be able to pay back its debt. If it has trouble doing so, there’s less of a likelihood that future creditors will want to extend it any credit. If a company has a low-interest coverage ratio, there’s a greater chance the company won’t be able to service its debt, putting it at risk of bankruptcy.

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For instance, while an ICR of 3 can be a level of concern for a particular firm, the same level could be very adequate for another firm. Some firms that enjoy stable cash flows and easy access to external finance (they hold large amounts of collateral, for example) might be able to manage persistently low ICRs. On the other hand, firms with risky cash flows and poor access to external funds might need to maintain high ICRs to be considered creditworthy and financially stable.

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