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# Gearing Ratios: Definition, Types of Ratios, and How To Calculate

File Photo: Gearing Ratios: Definition, Types of Ratios, and How To Calculate File Photo: Gearing Ratios: Definition, Types of Ratios, and How To Calculate

### The Gearing Ratio?

Gearing ratios compare owner equity (or capital) to company debt or borrowed funds. Gearing measures a firm’s financial leverage based on the ratio of shareholder funds to creditors’ funds.

The gearing ratio shows how much equity capital a company uses versus debt financing.

### Knowing Gearing Ratios

A higher gearing ratio indicates financial leverage and increased vulnerability to economic and business cycle downturns. Companies with higher leverage have more debt than shareholders’ equity. Companies with a high gearing ratio have more debt to service, while those with a low one have more equity.

Gearing ratios benefit internal and external parties. Financial institutions evaluate loan applications using gear ratios. Loan agreements may also require companies to calculate gearing ratios responsibly. Gearing ratios help internal management predict cash flows and leverage.

### Gearing Ratio Interpretation

A company with a high gearing ratio may be financially stable, but leverage is usually high. Instead, a company with a high gearing ratio has riskier financing.

Since they can borrow more, regulated entities have higher gearing ratios. Companies in monopolistic situations often have higher gearing ratios due to their strategic marketing position, reducing the risk of default. Due to debt financing, industries with high fixed asset costs often have higher gearing ratios.

Compare a company’s gearing ratio to others in its industry.

### Use of Gearing Ratios

Suppose a company has a debt ratio of 0.6. Although this figure alone provides some financial structure information, comparing it to another company in the same industry is more meaningful.

Last year, the company’s debt ratio was 0.3, the industry average was 0.8, and its main competitor was 0.9. Comparing gearing ratios yields more information. Compared to the industry average of 0.8 and the competition’s gearing ratio of 0.9, a company with a 0.3 ratio performs well.

### Conclusion

• Gearing ratios measure a company’s leverage and financial stability by comparing shareholders’ equity to company debt.
• Gearing is the ratio of debt to equity funding a company’s operations.
• Compare gearing ratios to other companies in the same industry for more meaning.