Cash coverage ratio

Cash coverage ratio is a financial metric that measures a company’s ability to cover its interest payments with its cash flow from operations.
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Updated: Jun 4, 2024

3 key takeaways

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  • The cash coverage ratio assesses a company’s ability to pay interest expenses with cash flow from operations.
  • It is a crucial indicator of liquidity and financial stability, helping stakeholders understand the firm’s debt service capacity.
  • A higher cash coverage ratio signifies better financial health and lower risk of insolvency.

What is the cash coverage ratio?

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The cash coverage ratio is calculated by dividing the cash flow from operations by the interest expense. This ratio indicates the number of times a company can cover its interest payments using the cash generated from its operating activities. It is an important measure for creditors and investors to assess a company’s liquidity and its ability to meet short-term financial obligations.

Formula:

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[ \text{Cash Coverage Ratio} = \frac{\text{Cash Flow from Operations}}{\text{Interest Expense}} ]

Example:

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If a company has a cash flow from operations of $500,000 and an interest expense of $100,000, the cash coverage ratio would be:
[ \text{Cash Coverage Ratio} = \frac{500,000}{100,000} = 5 ]

This means the company can cover its interest payments 5 times over with its cash flow from operations.

Importance of the cash coverage ratio

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  • Liquidity Assessment: Helps determine whether a company generates enough cash flow from its operations to cover its interest expenses, indicating good liquidity.
  • Debt Service Capacity: Provides insight into the firm’s ability to meet its debt obligations, which is crucial for lenders and investors.
  • Financial Health Indicator: A high cash coverage ratio suggests strong financial health and lower risk of financial distress or insolvency.

Advantages and disadvantages of the cash coverage ratio

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Advantages:

  • Insightful Measure: Provides a clear picture of a company’s ability to service its debt using operational cash flow, reflecting real liquidity.
  • Risk Assessment: Helps investors and creditors assess the risk associated with the company’s debt and financial stability.
  • Operational Focus: Emphasizes cash generated from core business activities, highlighting the firm’s operational efficiency.

Disadvantages:

  • Exclusion of Other Factors: Does not account for other expenses or obligations that might impact cash flow and liquidity.
  • Potential for Manipulation: Companies might manage their cash flow to present a more favorable ratio, potentially misleading stakeholders.
  • Short-term Focus: Emphasizes short-term liquidity rather than long-term financial health and solvency.

Real-world application

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The cash coverage ratio is widely used by financial analysts, investors, and creditors to evaluate a company’s liquidity and ability to meet its debt obligations. For example, a bank assessing a loan application might use this ratio to determine whether the borrower generates sufficient cash flow to cover interest payments, influencing the decision to approve or deny the loan.

In corporate finance, companies monitor their cash coverage ratios to manage their debt levels and ensure they maintain sufficient liquidity to meet their interest expenses. A consistently high cash coverage ratio can enhance a company’s credit rating and reduce borrowing costs.

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  • Liquidity ratios
  • Interest coverage ratio
  • Debt service coverage ratio (DSCR)
  • Operating cash flow
  • Financial health indicators
  • Credit analysis

Understanding the cash coverage ratio and its implications helps stakeholders evaluate a company’s financial stability, liquidity, and ability to manage its debt obligations effectively. It is a crucial tool for assessing short-term financial health and making informed investment and lending decisions.



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Arti
AI Financial Assistant
Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the Invezz.com knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.