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Over the past three months, shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) moved higher by 8.86%. Before having a look at the importance of debt, let us look at how much debt Bristol-Myers Squibb has.
Bristol-Myers Squibb's Debt
According to the Bristol-Myers Squibb’s most recent financial statement as reported on November 5, 2020, total debt is at $44.95 billion, with $41.36 billion in long-term debt and $3.58 billion in current debt. Adjusting for $19.43 billion in cash-equivalents, the company has a net debt of $25.51 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 include 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 Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $125.54 billion in total assets, the debt-ratio is at 0.36. As a rule of thumb, a debt-ratio more than one 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. A debt ratio of 25% might be higher for one industry and average for another.
Importance Of Debt
Besides equity, debt is an important factor in the capital structure of a company, and contributes to its growth. Due to its lower financing cost compared to equity, it becomes an attractive option for executives trying to raise capital.
However, due to interest-payment obligations, cash-flow of a company can be impacted. 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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