Total Debt

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Total Debt refers to the amount of long term interest-bearing liabilities that a company carries on its balance sheet. That may include bonds sold to public, notes written to banks or capital leases. Typically, debt can help a company magnify its earnings, but the burden of interest and principle payments will eventually prevent the firm from borrow excessively. In most industries, total debt may also include current portion of long-term debt. Since debt terms vary widely from one company to another, simply comparing outstanding debt obligations between different companies may not be adequate. It is usually meaningful to compare total debt amounts between companies that operate within the same sector.