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Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)

In business, government, and personal finance, the debt-service coverage ratio is used. The debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) is a measure of a company's available cash flow to fulfill current debt obligations in the context of corporate finance. The DSCR informs investors about a company's ability to pay its debts.


  • The debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) is a measure of available cash flow for paying current debt commitments.
  • The DSCR is a tool for analyzing businesses, projects, and individual borrowers.
  • A lender's minimal DSCR is determined by macroeconomic factors. Lenders may be more tolerant of lower ratios if the economy is growing.
  • Debt-Service Coverage Ratio Formula and Calculation (DSCR)

Formula and Calculation for the DSCR

The debt-service coverage ratio is calculated using net operational income and total debt servicing for the company. Revenue minus certain operating expenditures (COE), excluding taxes and interest payments, is net operating income. It's frequently compared to earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).

Non-operating income is included in some EBIT calculations. It's critical to use similar criteria when calculating DSCR as a lender or investor evaluating the creditworthiness of different companies—or as a manager comparing different years or quarters. It's crucial to remember as a borrower that lenders compute DSCR in slightly different methods.

Total debt service refers to upcoming debt obligations, such as interest, principal, sinking fund, and lease payments. This will contain short-term debt as well as the present component of long-term debt on a balance sheet.

Interest payments are tax deductible, but principle repayments are not. This complicates DSCR calculations. As a result, a more accurate way to calculate total debt service is to do the following:

Using Excel to Calculate the DSCR

You can't just divide net operating income by debt service to get a dynamic DSCR formula in Excel. Instead, you'd call two adjacent cells A2 and A3 "net operating income" and "debt service," respectively. Then you'd put the amounts from the income statement in B2 and B3, which are close to those cells.

Enter a DSCR formula in a separate box that uses the B2 and B3 cells instead of real numeric values (e.g., B2 / B3).

Even for a simple calculation like this, it's ideal to utilize a dynamic formula that can be automatically modified and recalculated. One of the main reasons to calculate DSCR is to compare it to other companies in the industry, and these comparisons are much easier to make when the figures are simple to type in.

What Does the Debt-Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) Mean?

The DSCR is the amount of export profits required by a country to fulfill annual interest and principal payments on its foreign debt in terms of government finance. It is a ratio used by bank loan officers to determine income property loans in the context of personal finance.

The debt-service coverage ratio represents the ability to service debt given a specific level of revenue, whether in the context of corporate finance, government finance, or personal finance. Net operational income is expressed as a multiple of debt commitments due within a year, which include interest, principal, sinking funds, and lease payments.

Before making a loan, lenders will evaluate a borrower's DSCR. A DSCR of less than one indicates negative cash flow, which suggests the borrower will be unable to meet or pay current debt commitments without using outside resources—in other words, borrowing more.

A DSCR of 0.95, for example, suggests that net operating income is only enough to repay 95% of yearly debt payments. This would mean that the borrower would have to dip into their personal funds every month to keep the project afloat in terms of personal finance. Negative cash flow is often frowned upon by lenders, however some do allow it if the borrower has substantial assets in addition to their income.

If the debt-service coverage ratio is too near to one, such as 1.1, the organization is susceptible, and even a little drop in cash flow could cause it to default on its loan. Lenders may demand the borrower to maintain a specified minimum DSCR while the loan is outstanding in some instances. A borrower who falls below that minimum may be considered in default under some agreements. A DSCR of larger than one indicates that the entity—whether an individual, a corporation, or the government—has enough revenue to meet its present debt obligations.

The minimal DSCR that a lender will require might be influenced by macroeconomic factors. When the economy is doing well, credit becomes more easily available, and lenders may be more lenient with lower debt-to-income ratios. As was the case in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, a proclivity to lend to less-qualified borrowers can have an impact on the economy's stability. Subprime borrowers were able to receive credit with little scrutiny, notably mortgages. The financial institutions that had financed these debtors failed when they began to default in large numbers.

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