Over the past three months, shares of Merck & Co MRK rose by 5.52%. Before having a look at the importance of debt, let us look at how much debt Merck & Co has.
Merck & Co's Debt
Based on Merck & Co's balance sheet as of August 9, 2021, long-term debt is at $24.03 billion and current debt is at $2.49 billion, amounting to $26.52 billion in total debt. Adjusted for $8.57 billion in cash-equivalents, the company's net debt is at $17.95 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. Merck & Co has $90.69 billion in total assets, therefore making the debt-ratio 0.29. 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 40% might be higher for one industry and normal for another.
Why Shareholders Look At 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.
Interest-payment obligations can impact 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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