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What is the Altman Z-score?

Altman Z-score

The Altman Z-score is a formula that is designed to predict the likelihood, or otherwise, of a publicly-quoted manufacturing company becoming insolvent. It was devised by a professor of finance, Edward Altman, in 1967 and was published the following year.

Where have you heard about the Altman Z-score?

It is not exactly an everyday conversational topic, but as an investor you may have come across it in guides to investment. Your financial adviser may have mentioned the Altman Z-score when discussing possible share selections in the manufacturing sector.

What you need to know about the Altman Z-score.

The Altman Z-score adds together the result of five ratios, all calculated using publicly-available company information. Those ratios are:

  • working capital divided by total assets multiplied by 1.2
  • retained earnings divided by total assets and multiplied by 1.4
  • earnings before interest and tax divided by total assets and multiplied by 3.3
  • market capitalisation divided by total liabilities and multiplied by 0.6
  • sales divided by total assets and multiplied by one

A score of 1.8 or less signals that the company is likely to become insolvent, while a score of three or above suggests it is not.

Find out more about the Altman Z-score.

The Altman Z-score is used as a predictor of insolvency. Learn more about insolvency here.

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