financial leverage

Also found in: Acronyms.

Financial leverage

Use of debt to increase the expected return on equity. Financial leverage is measured by the ratio of debt to debt plus equity.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.

Financial Leverage

1. To use debt to finance an activity. For example, one usually borrows money in the form of a mortgage to buy a house. One commonly refers to this as leveraging the house. Likewise, one leverages when one uses a margin in order to purchase securities.

2. The amount of debt that has been used to finance activities. A company with much more debt than equity is generally called "highly leveraged." Too much leverage is often thought to be unhealthy, but many firms use leverage in order to expand operations.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

financial leverage

The extent to which interest on debt magnifies changes in operating income into even greater proportionate changes in earnings after taxes. Financial leverage magnifies increases in earnings per share during periods of rising operating income but adds significant risks for stockholders and creditors because of added interest obligations. Compare operating leverage. See also debt management ratio, debt-to-equity ratio.
Case Study Financial leverage results from utilizing debt to finance assets. The greater the ratio of funds contributed by creditors compared to funds contributed by stockholders, the greater a firm's financial leverage. Financial leverage magnifies changes in net income compared to changes in operating income. For example, financial leverage might cause a firm's reported net income to increase by 30% when operating income increases by 20%. Without financial leverage the 20% increase in operating income would produce an equal percentage increase in net income. The magnification operates both upward and downward, which means stockholders benefit from financial leverage when times are good and operating income is increasing but their investment in the firm can be at substantial risk when times are bad and operating income is falling. In late 2001 Italian automaker Fiat announced a restructuring intended to reduce financial leverage by halving the firm's debt of nearly €7.5 billion. As part of the restructuring Fiat said it would sell €2 billion of assets, undertake a €1 billion rights offering to sell new stock, and issue $2.2 billion in bonds exchangeable for the firm's holding of General Motors Corporation common stock. The restructuring package was intended to increase equity at the same time it reduced the firm's debt, both of which would decrease financial leverage and dampen fluctuations in net income. At the time, Fiat was struggling as Europe's fifth-largest automaker.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Fitch said while financial leverage has increased, mainly from reductions in common equity from dividends and share repurchases, it was the decline in FCC below a 12x threshold that has led to the holding company ratings being downgraded.
CVS provided a pro forma debt-to-EBITDA expectation of approximately 4.6x at close of the transaction, which is considerably above Fitch's expectation of 1.8x for Aetna at its previous rating level and represents 'B' level financial leverage under Fitch's sector credit factors for health insurers.
Therefore, the need to examine the moderating role of competitive strategy in the relationship between financial leverage and performance of firms is significantly pivotal, particularly among the listed industrial firms in Jordan, which was addressed in this study.
By providing empirical evidences to market players that how financial leverage plays a role in major shareholders' decision portfolio, this study will help investors, creditors and managers in order to select appropriate and effective indicators for the evaluation and analysis of financial position and operating properly so that it leads to wealth creation for beneficiaries.
Favourable or Unfavourable Financial Leverage during the Pre-slowdown Period and Slowdown Period
Wald (1999) declared that the most vital factor of firms are the profitability in the heteroskedastic to bit regression model the debt to asset ratios and financial leverage have negatively proportionate.
Finally, financial leverage can be considered as one among many factors that affect business risk of entertainment firms.
To estimate the effects of entrepreneurs' outside wealth on their firm-level financial leverage usage, my estimation model is:
Frigoglass' financial leverage was 5.4x and RCF/net debt 8.1% as at
"Fitch views PLC's future financial flexibility as constrained given the increased financial leverage, limited access to external equity capital and modest organic statutory earnings generation prospects," Fitch adds.
UnitedHealth's financial leverage could rise slightly immediately following the offering, but according to Fitch, the company's key financial leverage ratios, including debt-to-EBIDA, EBITDA-to interest, and debt-to-total capitalisation, will continue to hover around recent levels for the foreseeable future.
The Lebanese economy will not suffer a collapse since it is not built on financial leverage, said Riad Salameh, the governor of the Lebanese Central Bank in his annual interview with the Beirut Daily AN NAHAR published on Friday.

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