Times Interest Earned Ratio Formula

When providers of debt finance, such as banks, review a business plan financial projections, they are interested in a business’s ability to service and repay any loans made to it. One of the indicators they look for is whether the business will generate sufficient operating income to meet its interest payments on any loans provided. In order to do this they calculate the times interest earned ratio. The ratio is sometimes referred to as the interest coverage ratio, tie ratio or simply the interest cover.

The times interest earned formula for the financial projections template is as follows:

times interest earned formula

The operating income is that left of the income after the business pays all its operating expenses. The operating income should at the very least be sufficient to pay the interest due on borrowings. Depreciation is added back as it does not represent a cash related expense and therefore does not restrict a business’s ability to pay interest charges.

How to Calculate Times Interest Earned Ratio

The numbers used to calculate the times interest earned ratio are all found in the income statement as illustrated below.

Income Statement
Cost of sales135,000
Gross margin165,000
Operating expenses75,000
Operating income78,000
Interest expense15,000
Income before tax63,000
Income tax expense13,000
Net income50,000

In this example the calculation of the  times interest earned ratio is as follows:

Times interest earned = (Operating income + Depreciation) / Interest
Times interest earned = (78,000 + 12,000) / 15,000 = 6.00

TIE Ratio Analysis

The times interest earned ratio is a measure of the ability of a business to make interest payments on its debt, as such it is a measure of the credit worthiness of the business. In the above example, the ratio of 6.00 indicates that interest payable is covered 6.00 times by the operating income.

From the lenders point of view the higher the times interest earned ratio the less risky the business is and the more they are reassured that their loans are reasonably secure. The lower the times interest earned ratio the more concerned the lender will be that the business may not be able to pay the interest. This reduces the chances of them providing any debt finance to the business.

There is no correct value for the times interest earned ratio as it depends on the industry in which the business operates. Generally the ratio should be greater than 2.5. It is useful to compare the calculated figure with other businesses in your industry. This information is available in published financial statements. The times interest ratio should never be lower than 1 otherwise the business is not generating enough income to meet its interest obligations.

In the financial projections template, the times interest earned is indicated on the financial ratios page under the leverage ratios heading as the interest cover ratio.

Last modified October 27th, 2022 by Michael Brown

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Plan Projections. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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