Financial ratios of companies that are about to go bankrupt

Although investors use several different analytical perspectives to evaluate stocks, including profit ratio, income ratio, and liquidity ratio, they should be careful to include financial ratios, which can be specifically used to provide early warning of possible bankruptcy Signal. There are key ratios that can provide such warnings in advance, allowing investors sufficient time to dispose of their equity before the financial roof falls.

Key points

  • In addition to profit ratios, investors can also benefit from using financial ratios to evaluate investments, especially as a signal of impending bankruptcy.
  • The current ratio assesses the company’s handling of its short-term debt.
  • The ratio of operating cash flow to sales assesses how the company generates cash from sales.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio measures a company’s ability to fulfill its financing obligations and financing structure.
  • The cash flow to debt ratio shows how long it will take for the company to resolve all debts if all of the company’s cash flow or free cash flow is allocated to it.

Current ratio

The current ratio simply divides current assets by current liabilities and is one of the main liquidity ratios used to assess the financial soundness of a company. It evaluates the company’s ability to handle all its short-term debt obligations by measuring whether the company’s current resources are sufficient to cover all its debt obligations in the next 12 months. A higher current ratio indicates that the company has more liquidity. Generally, a current ratio of 2 or higher is considered healthy. A ratio less than 1 is a clear warning sign.

Operating cash flow to sales

Cash flow and cash flow are the keys to the success and survival of any business. The ratio of operating cash flow to sales—operating cash flow divided by sales revenue—shows the company’s ability to generate cash from sales. The ideal relationship between operating cash flow and sales is a parallel growth. If the cash flow does not increase with the increase in sales, this is worrying, which may indicate inefficient management of costs or accounts receivable. As for the current ratio, generally speaking, the higher the ratio, the better. Analysts prefer to see numbers that improve or at least remain consistent over time.

Debt/equity ratio

The debt/equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio and one of the most commonly used ratios for assessing the financial status of a company. It provides a major measure of the company’s ability to fulfill its financing obligations and the company’s financing structure, regardless of whether the financing comes more from equity investors or more from debt financing. If this ratio is high or increasing, it indicates that the company is overly dependent on financing from creditors rather than funds provided by equity investors.

This ratio is also important because it is one of the factors considered by lenders. If lenders think the ratio is disturbingly high, they may be reluctant to provide more credit to the company. The best D/E ratio is about 1, where equity roughly equals liabilities. Although the D/E ratio varies from industry to industry, the general rule is that a ratio higher than 2 is considered unhealthy.

Cash flow to debt ratio

Cash flow is essential to any business. No business can operate without the necessary cash to pay bills; pay loans, rents, or mortgages; meet payroll; and pay the necessary taxes. The ratio of cash flow to debt, calculated as operating cash flow divided by total debt, is sometimes considered the best predictor of financial business failure.

The coverage ratio indicates that if 100% of the company’s cash flow is used to repay debts, the theoretical time it takes for the company to repay all outstanding debts. A higher ratio indicates that the company is better able to repay debt. Some analysts use free cash flow instead of operating cash flow in their calculations because free cash flow affects capital expenditures. A ratio above 1 is generally considered healthy, but any value below 1 is usually interpreted as an indication of bankruptcy within a few years, unless the company takes steps to substantially improve its financial situation.

Another indicator that is often used to predict potential bankruptcy is the Z-score, which is a combination of multiple financial ratios used to produce a single comprehensive score.


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