DSCR what it is and why it matters

DSCR is the Debt Service Cover Ratio required by bankers… typically when they are ‘cash’ lending for an MBO, acquisition etc

They want to make sure a company’s annual Cash Flow can cover its annual Debt repayments… and they add a little bit on for comfort

So… let’s play numbers

If a company has £100k Debt repayments (including interest)

And their Bankers apply a DSCR of 1.3

Then the company must have CFADS (Cash Flow Available for Debt Service) of £130k to keep their Bankers happy

In the Real World

The calculation is done the other way round… so

Say our company has CFADS of £500k

And their Banker’s DSCR of 1.25

Then the company has a Debt repayment capacity of £400k

The Bank will then deduct any existing Debt repayments (Funding Circle loan, HP payments) … say e.g. of £100k

The Bank now thinks the company can cope with an extra £300k of Debt repayment each year…

For an MBO they may typically lend over 3 to 4 years… meaning our company can borrow an extra £900k to £1.2m


Obviously DSCR is just about symbiotically linked to CFADS… so check out the post and video on CFADS here


MBO … you know it makes sense

I’m seeing an increasing appetite among bankers to fund an MBO… which is a great thing all round.

Owners get to sell all or part of their holdings and realise value… to people who know the company well and are seriously committed to making sure it survives and thrives

Bankers get to fund a team who know the company warts & all, yet still want to financially hitch themselves to the company wagon for years to come… And if the Bankers funding the deal are the company’s long-time bankers, with a real knowledge of the company and its prospects, so much the better

And there’s more… much more

Not only do seller and funder get what they want (value extracted … chunky low-risk funding)… they get it quick… and I mean quick

High Street bankers can and really do turn an MBO around in less than 2 months.

Think about that.

8 weeks from today you could have sold out… if you’ve a team who’ll buy

Compare that to the market…

I typically tell owners to expect to wait a year for their money if trying to sell in the market… and not to expect any deal to go through… because few do…

A willingness to get the deal done, quickly, by all involved, with minimal-to-no Due Diligence helps cut the time… as does the comfort the bankers get from funding a team who know the business better than any Due Dil team could


For the Bankers an MBO is a form of cash lending… they look less for security and more for an ability to repay… and to measure that ability a lot of them lean heavily on the company’s CFADS

I’ve a separate post on CFADS for the seriously interested… but for the passingly-curious it stands for Cash Flow Available for Debt Servicing

Once the Bank have calculated a company’s CFADS they knock off any existing debt repayments the company has… add a margin of cover … and will typically lend up to 3 or 4 times the remaining figure

In the The Real World

Your Company Valuation is irrelevant…

Again… think about that… the Bank works out its willingness and ability to lend you an AMOUNT… no mention of value here...

… so that amount could be for all your shares… or just 70% of them… leaving you with 30% as your team take on the business…

… in fact your Bank would prefer it if you don’t sell out entirely… no whiff of ‘cutting & running’… plus the old owner is still around to help the new owners…

So what’s the catch?

You still need all the deal-making & legals doing right

Heads-of-Terms… an SPA (Share Purchase Agreement)… a Shareholders Agreement… as well as any Service Agreements (e.g. for your new role, and for their new roles)

And the bank will want all the forecasts they can eat…

But none of that stuff should stop the deal happening within 8 weeks from now


But what about the M in the MBO ?

For Management this will be a big step up… and in the old days it meant lots of  PGs (Personal Guarantees) and some skin in the game (in the form of perhaps one year’s salary)

But the old days are gone… we are in a world awash with cash… and the banks aren’t pushing for skin… and any PGs can be limited to silly low numbers (which the selling owner can guarantee if that helps get the deal done)

Interesting times… 

I’m absolutely convinced there are no meaningful supply side issues when it comes to companies like yours getting funding… it’s the demand that’s lacking…

… and I’m also absolutely convinced the banks keenness for these MBO deals is strongly correlated with this supply / demand mismatch…

… long may it continue…