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Shares of Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) increased by 20.57% in the past three months. Before we understand the importance of debt, let us look at how much debt Union Pacific has.
Union Pacific's Debt
According to the Union Pacific's most recent balance sheet as reported on October 22, 2020, total debt is at $28.06 billion, with $26.08 billion in long-term debt and $1.98 billion in current debt. Adjusting for $2.60 billion in cash-equivalents, the company has a net debt of $25.46 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.
Shareholders look at the debt-ratio to understand how much financial leverage a company has. Union Pacific has $63.71 billion in total assets, therefore making the debt-ratio 0.44. Generally speaking, a debt-ratio more than one means that a large portion of debt is funded by assets. As the debt-ratio increases, so the does the risk of defaulting on loans, if interest rates were to increase. Different industries have different thresholds of tolerance for debt-ratios. A debt ratio of 35% might be higher for one industry and normal 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, interest-payment obligations can have an adverse impact on the cash-flow of the company. Equity owners can keep excess profit, generated from the debt capital, when companies use the debt capital for its business operations.
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