Altman Z-Score

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What is the 'Altman Z-Score'

The Altman Z-score is the output of a credit-strength test that gauges a publicly traded manufacturing company's likelihood of bankruptcy. The Altman Z-score, is based on five financial ratios that can be calculated from data found on a company's annual 10K report. The Altman Z-score is calculated as follows:

Z-Score = 1.2A + 1.4B + 3.3C + 0.6D + 1.0E

Where:

A = Working Capital/Total Assets
B = Retained Earnings/Total Assets
C = Earnings Before Interest & Tax/Total Assets
D = Market Value of Equity/Total Liabilities
E = Sales/Total Assets

A score below 1.8 means the company is probably headed for bankruptcy, while companies with scores above 3.0 are not likely to go bankrupt. The lower/higher the score, the lower/higher the likelihood of bankruptcy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Altman Z-Score'

NYU Stern Finance Professor, Edward Altman, developed the Altman Z-score formula in 1967. In 2012, he released an updated version called the Altman Z-score Plus, that can be used to evaluate both public and private companies, both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing companies and both U.S. and non-U.S. companies. Investors can use Altman Z-scores to help determine whether they should buy or sell a particular stock if they're concerned about the underlying company's financial strength. The Altman Z-score Plus can be used to evaluate corporate credit risk.

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