Does SBF (FRA:CY1K) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 30, 2021
DB:CY1K
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.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. As with many other companies SBF AG (FRA:CY1K) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for SBF

How Much Debt Does SBF Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2021 SBF had debt of €8.85m, up from €2.97m in one year. However, its balance sheet shows it holds €10.5m in cash, so it actually has €1.61m net cash.

debt-equity-history-analysis
DB:CY1K Debt to Equity History December 30th 2021

A Look At SBF's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that SBF had liabilities of €4.11m due within 12 months and liabilities of €10.7m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had €10.5m in cash and €2.46m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total €1.92m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This state of affairs indicates that SBF's balance sheet looks quite solid, as its total liabilities are just about equal to its liquid assets. So while it's hard to imagine that the €96.2m company is struggling for cash, we still think it's worth monitoring its balance sheet. Despite its noteworthy liabilities, SBF boasts net cash, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

The modesty of its debt load may become crucial for SBF if management cannot prevent a repeat of the 46% cut to EBIT over the last year. Falling earnings (if the trend continues) could eventually make even modest debt quite risky. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine SBF'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.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. While SBF has net cash on its balance sheet, it's still worth taking a look at its ability to convert earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, to help us understand how quickly it is building (or eroding) that cash balance. Considering the last three years, SBF actually recorded a cash outflow, overall. Debt is far more risky for companies with unreliable free cash flow, so shareholders should be hoping that the past expenditure will produce free cash flow in the future.

Summing up

We could understand if investors are concerned about SBF's liabilities, but we can be reassured by the fact it has has net cash of €1.61m. So while SBF does not have a great balance sheet, it's certainly not too bad. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. 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 SBF you should know about.

Of course, if you're the type of investor who prefers buying stocks without the burden of debt, then don't hesitate to discover our exclusive list of net cash growth stocks, today.

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