Stock Analysis

Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs (VIE:WXF) Has A Somewhat Strained Balance Sheet

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David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. As with many other companies Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs AG (VIE:WXF) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt A Problem?

Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own cash flow. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

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How Much Debt Does Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of June 2022 Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs had €274.5m of debt, an increase on €183.6m, over one year. However, it does have €22.2m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about €252.3m.

WBAG:WXF Debt to Equity History December 1st 2022

A Look At Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs' Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs had liabilities of €42.6m due within 12 months and liabilities of €275.7m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had €22.2m in cash and €6.69m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total €289.4m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the €41.6m company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. At the end of the day, Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment.

In order to size up a company's debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Weak interest cover of 0.83 times and a disturbingly high net debt to EBITDA ratio of 31.3 hit our confidence in Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs like a one-two punch to the gut. The debt burden here is substantial. Looking on the bright side, Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs boosted its EBIT by a silky 37% in the last year. Like a mother's loving embrace of a newborn that sort of growth builds resilience, putting the company in a stronger position to manage its debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. In the last three years, Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs created free cash flow amounting to 15% of its EBIT, an uninspiring performance. For us, cash conversion that low sparks a little paranoia about is ability to extinguish debt.

Our View

On the face of it, Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs's interest cover left us tentative about the stock, and its level of total liabilities was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But on the bright side, its EBIT growth rate is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. Overall, it seems to us that Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs's balance sheet is really quite a risk to the business. So we're almost as wary of this stock as a hungry kitten is about falling into its owner's fish pond: once bitten, twice shy, as they say. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example, we've discovered 5 warning signs for Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs (3 are concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

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Find out whether Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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