## WARREN BUFFETT AND LONG-TERM DEBT

Warren Buffett speaks only generally of his approach to debt. Mary Buffett and David Clark have concluded that he focuses on long-term debt, a conclusion that is supported by his public comments. They believe that his concern lies with the company’s ability to repay its debts, should the need arise, from its profits; the longer the time period, the more vulnerable is the company to external changes and the less predictable are its future earnings.

The formula for such a calculation is:

Number of years to pay out debt = Long term debt
Current annual profit

## COMPANY EXAMPLES

If we apply this formula to Johnson and Johnson, for example, we find, using Value Line, that for 2002, the long-term debt of the company was \$2022 million and the profit for that year was \$6610 million. Dividing the first figure by the second, we can calculate that at that rate the company could pay off its long-term debt in 0.3 of a year.

If we apply the same formula to McDonald’s Corporation, we find, using Value Line, that for 2002, the long-term debt of that company was \$9703 million and the profit for that year was \$ 1692 million. Dividing the first figure by the second, we can calculate that at that rate the company could pay off its long-term debt in 5.73 years.