You should definitely have a good, solid answer ready for this question, since the debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio is a key, if not the primary, financial ratio considered in evaluating a company's ability to handle its debt financing obligations. The D/E ratio indicates a company’s total debt in relation to its total equity, and it reveals what percentage of a company's financing is being provided by debt and what percentage by equity. Your answer should show you understand the ratio and know that, generally speaking, ratios lower than 1.0 indicate a more financially sound firm, while ratios higher than 1.0 indicate an increasing level of credit risk.
Beyond that, it should be noted that average D/E ratios vary significantly between sectors and industries. A more solid credit risk analysis includes an examination of the current state of the industry and the company's position within the industry, as well as consideration of other key financial ratios such as the interest coverage ratio or current ratio.