Jamieson Wellness (TSE:JWEL) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 21, 2022
TSX:JWEL
Source: Shutterstock

The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a 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. We note that Jamieson Wellness Inc. (TSE:JWEL) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Jamieson Wellness

What Is Jamieson Wellness's Debt?

As you can see below, Jamieson Wellness had CA$149.1m of debt, at December 2021, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, it does have CA$8.66m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about CA$140.5m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TSX:JWEL Debt to Equity History April 21st 2022

How Strong Is Jamieson Wellness' Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Jamieson Wellness had liabilities of CA$83.6m due within 12 months and liabilities of CA$226.8m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of CA$8.66m as well as receivables valued at CA$104.2m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling CA$197.6m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Since publicly traded Jamieson Wellness shares are worth a total of CA$1.37b, 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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Jamieson Wellness's net debt to EBITDA ratio of about 1.5 suggests only moderate use of debt. And its strong interest cover of 14.2 times, makes us even more comfortable. Also good is that Jamieson Wellness grew its EBIT at 13% over the last year, further increasing its ability to manage debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Jamieson Wellness'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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. In the last three years, Jamieson Wellness'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

The good news is that Jamieson Wellness's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Jamieson Wellness can handle its debt fairly comfortably. Of course, while this leverage can enhance returns on equity, it does bring more risk, so it's worth keeping an eye on this one. 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. We've identified 2 warning signs with Jamieson Wellness , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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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