- Energy Services
Does Total Energy Services (TSE:TOT) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?
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. We can see that Total Energy Services Inc. (TSE:TOT) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?
When Is Debt Dangerous?
Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. However, a more usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.
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How Much Debt Does Total Energy Services Carry?
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Total Energy Services had CA$120.0m of debt in December 2022, down from CA$190.5m, one year before. However, it also had CA$34.1m in cash, and so its net debt is CA$85.9m.
How Healthy Is Total Energy Services' Balance Sheet?
We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Total Energy Services had liabilities of CA$187.8m falling due within a year, and liabilities of CA$168.8m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had CA$34.1m in cash and CA$155.1m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by CA$167.5m.
While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Total Energy Services has a market capitalization of CA$331.5m, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution.
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.
Total Energy Services has net debt of just 0.67 times EBITDA, indicating that it is certainly not a reckless borrower. And this view is supported by the solid interest coverage, with EBIT coming in at 7.1 times the interest expense over the last year. Although Total Energy Services made a loss at the EBIT level, last year, it was also good to see that it generated CA$51m in EBIT over the last twelve months. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Total Energy Services'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.
But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is backed by free cash flow. Over the last year, Total Energy Services actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.
Total Energy Services's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its level of total liabilities. All these things considered, it appears that Total Energy Services can comfortably handle its current debt levels. On the plus side, this leverage can boost shareholder returns, but the potential downside is more risk of loss, so it's worth monitoring the balance sheet. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. We've identified 1 warning sign with Total Energy Services , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you're interested in investing in businesses that can grow profits without the burden of debt, then check out this free list of growing businesses that have net cash on the balance sheet.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
Total Energy Services
Total Energy Services Inc. provides various products and services to the oil and natural gas industry primarily in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
Very undervalued with flawless balance sheet and pays a dividend.