We Think Idorsia (VTX:IDIA) Has A Fair Chunk Of Debt

Simply Wall St
April 13, 2022
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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.' 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. Importantly, Idorsia Ltd (VTX:IDIA) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Idorsia

What Is Idorsia's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of December 2021 Idorsia had CHF1.09b of debt, an increase on CHF587.4m, over one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of CHF1.04b, its net debt is less, at about CHF54.5m.

SWX:IDIA Debt to Equity History April 13th 2022

How Strong Is Idorsia's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Idorsia had liabilities of CHF165.1m due within 12 months, and liabilities of CHF1.21b due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of CHF1.04b and CHF4.61m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling CHF336.0m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Given Idorsia has a market capitalization of CHF3.28b, 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. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Idorsia 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.

In the last year Idorsia had a loss before interest and tax, and actually shrunk its revenue by 51%, to CHF35m. That makes us nervous, to say the least.

Caveat Emptor

While Idorsia's falling revenue is about as heartwarming as a wet blanket, arguably its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss is even less appealing. Its EBIT loss was a whopping CHF610m. When we look at that and recall the liabilities on its balance sheet, relative to cash, it seems unwise to us for the company to have any 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 CHF621m in negative free cash flow over the last twelve months. So in short it's a really risky stock. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Idorsia 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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