Stock Analysis

We Think Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações (BVMF:OFSA3) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

BOVESPA:OFSA3
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk'. So it might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. As with many other companies Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações S.A. (BVMF:OFSA3) makes use of debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. However, a more frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

See our latest analysis for Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações

How Much Debt Does Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações Carry?

As you can see below, at the end of March 2020, Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações had R$340.8m of debt, up from R$272.6m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, it also had R$125.7m in cash, and so its net debt is R$215.1m.

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BOVESPA:OFSA3 Debt to Equity History July 13th 2020

How Healthy Is Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações had liabilities of R$277.9m falling due within a year, and liabilities of R$158.9m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had R$125.7m in cash and R$161.4m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by R$149.7m.

Since publicly traded Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações shares are worth a total of R$1.77b, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.

We use two main ratios to inform us about debt levels relative to earnings. The first is net debt divided by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), while the second is how many times its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) covers its interest expense (or its interest cover, for short). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).

Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações's net debt of 2.2 times EBITDA suggests graceful use of debt. And the alluring interest cover (EBIT of 8.5 times interest expense) certainly does not do anything to dispel this impression. The bad news is that Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações saw its EBIT decline by 14% over the last year. If earnings continue to decline at that rate then handling the debt will be more difficult than taking three children under 5 to a fancy pants restaurant. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. In the last three years, Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações's free cash flow amounted to 27% of its EBIT, less than we'd expect. That's not great, when it comes to paying down debt.

Our View

Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações's struggle to grow its EBIT had us second guessing its balance sheet strength, but the other data-points we considered were relatively redeeming. But on the bright side, its ability to to cover its interest expense with its EBIT isn't too shabby at all. We think that Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações's debt does make it a bit risky, after considering the aforementioned data points together. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações (including 1 which is doesn't sit too well with us) .

At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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