Bossard Holding (VTX:BOSN) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 18, 2022
SWX:BOSN
Source: Shutterstock

Howard Marks put it nicely when he said that, rather than worrying about share price volatility, 'The possibility of permanent loss is the risk I worry about... and every practical investor I know worries about.' 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 can see that Bossard Holding AG (VTX:BOSN) does use debt in its business. 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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

Check out our latest analysis for Bossard Holding

How Much Debt Does Bossard Holding Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at December 2021 Bossard Holding had debt of CHF251.3m, up from CHF196.3m in one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of CHF34.1m, its net debt is less, at about CHF217.2m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
SWX:BOSN Debt to Equity History March 18th 2022

How Healthy Is Bossard Holding's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Bossard Holding had liabilities of CHF240.4m due within 12 months, and liabilities of CHF182.9m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of CHF34.1m and CHF180.2m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling CHF208.9m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Given Bossard Holding has a market capitalization of CHF1.76b, it's hard to believe these liabilities pose much threat. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.

We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). 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).

We'd say that Bossard Holding's moderate net debt to EBITDA ratio ( being 1.5), indicates prudence when it comes to debt. And its commanding EBIT of 38.4 times its interest expense, implies the debt load is as light as a peacock feather. On top of that, Bossard Holding grew its EBIT by 43% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle 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 Bossard Holding's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

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 that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. In the last three years, Bossard Holding's free cash flow amounted to 49% of its EBIT, less than we'd expect. That weak cash conversion makes it more difficult to handle indebtedness.

Our View

Happily, Bossard Holding's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its EBIT growth rate is also very heartening. Looking at the bigger picture, we think Bossard Holding's use of debt seems quite reasonable and we're not concerned about it. While debt does bring risk, when used wisely it can also bring a higher return on equity. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Bossard Holding you should know about.

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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