Long-Term Debt is the debt due more than 12 months in the future. The debt can be owed to banks or bondholders. Some companies issue bonds to investors and pay interest on the bonds.
The interest paid on companies debt is reflected in the income statement as interest expense. If a company has too much debt and it cannot serve the interest payment on the debt or repay the matured debt, the company risks bankruptcy. Peter Lynch famously said: A company that does not have debt cannot go bankrupt.
A companys long term debt may have different dates of maturity and interest rates, depending on the terms.
Usually a company issues long term debt to pay for its capital expenditures. Borrowing allows the company to do things that otherwise cannot be done with only the capital it has. But debt can be risky.
Buffett says that durable competitive advantages carry little to no LT debt because the company is so profitable that even expansions or acquisitions are self financed.
We are interested in long term debt load for the last ten years. If the ten yrs of operation show little to no long term debt, then the company has some kind of strong competitive advantage.
Warren Buffetts historic purchases indicate that on any given year, the company should have sufficient yearly net earnings to pay all long term within 3 or 4 year earnings period. (e.g. Coke + Moodys = 1yr)
Companies with enough earning power to pay long term debt in less than 3 or 4 years is a good candidate in our search for long term competitive advantage.
BUT, these companies are targets for leveraged buy outs, which saddles the business with long term debt.
If all else indicates the company has a moat, but it has ton of debt, a leveraged buyout may have created the debt. In these cases the companys bonds offer the better bet, in that the companys earnings power is focused on paying off the debt and not growth.
Important: little or no long term debt often means a Good Long Term Bet
Disclaimers: GuruFocus.com is not operated by a broker, a dealer, or a registered investment adviser. Under no circumstances does any information posted on GuruFocus.com represent a recommendation to buy or sell a security. The information on this site, and in its related newsletters, is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, investment advice or recommendations. The gurus may buy and sell securities before and after any particular article and report and information herein is published, with respect to the securities discussed in any article and report posted herein. In no event shall GuruFocus.com be liable to any member, guest or third party for any damages of any kind arising out of the use of any content or other material published or available on GuruFocus.com, or relating to the use of, or inability to use, GuruFocus.com or any content, including, without limitation, any investment losses, lost profits, lost opportunity, special, incidental, indirect, consequential or punitive damages. Past performance is a poor indicator of future performance. The information on this site, and in its related newsletters, is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, investment advice or recommendations. The information on this site is in no way guaranteed for completeness, accuracy or in any other way. The gurus listed in this website are not affiliated with GuruFocus.com, LLC.
Stock quotes provided by InterActive Data. Fundamental company data provided by Morningstar, updated daily.