Stock Analysis

Is Arianne Phosphate (CVE:DAN) Using Too Much Debt?

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Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. Importantly, Arianne Phosphate Inc. (CVE:DAN) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. Of course, the upside of debt is that it often represents cheap capital, especially when it replaces dilution in a company with the ability to reinvest at high rates of return. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Arianne Phosphate

What Is Arianne Phosphate's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of September 2022, Arianne Phosphate had CA$18.9m of debt, up from CA$17.6m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. On the flip side, it has CA$3.62m in cash leading to net debt of about CA$15.3m.

TSXV:DAN Debt to Equity History March 16th 2023

How Healthy Is Arianne Phosphate's Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Arianne Phosphate had liabilities of CA$2.29m due within 12 months and liabilities of CA$20.7m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had CA$3.62m in cash and CA$227.1k in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total CA$19.1m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Arianne Phosphate has a market capitalization of CA$85.6m, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is Arianne Phosphate's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.

Since Arianne Phosphate has no significant operating revenue, shareholders probably hope it will develop a valuable new mine before too long.

Caveat Emptor

Importantly, Arianne Phosphate had an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss over the last year. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at CA$1.7m. Considering that alongside the liabilities mentioned above does not give us much confidence that company should be using so much debt. Quite frankly we think the balance sheet is far from match-fit, although it could be improved with time. Another cause for caution is that is bled CA$2.1m in negative free cash flow over the last twelve months. So suffice it to say we do consider the stock to be risky. 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. For instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for Arianne Phosphate (2 are a bit concerning) you should be aware of.

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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