Stock Analysis

We Think Delfingen Industry (EPA:ALDEL) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

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ENXTPA:ALDEL
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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.' 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. Importantly, Delfingen Industry S.A. (EPA:ALDEL) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. 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.

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How Much Debt Does Delfingen Industry Carry?

As you can see below, Delfingen Industry had €97.6m of debt at June 2022, down from €104.9m a year prior. However, it does have €23.2m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about €74.4m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ENXTPA:ALDEL Debt to Equity History September 27th 2022

A Look At Delfingen Industry's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Delfingen Industry had liabilities of €99.3m due within 12 months, and liabilities of €109.6m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €23.2m as well as receivables valued at €89.2m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling €96.5m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Given this deficit is actually higher than the company's market capitalization of €92.9m, we think shareholders really should watch Delfingen Industry's debt levels, like a parent watching their child ride a bike for the first time. In the scenario where the company had to clean up its balance sheet quickly, it seems likely shareholders would suffer extensive dilution.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Delfingen Industry has net debt worth 2.2 times EBITDA, which isn't too much, but its interest cover looks a bit on the low side, with EBIT at only 4.9 times the interest expense. In large part that's due to the company's significant depreciation and amortisation charges, which arguably mean its EBITDA is a very generous measure of earnings, and its debt may be more of a burden than it first appears. Importantly, Delfingen Industry's EBIT fell a jaw-dropping 77% in the last twelve months. If that decline continues then paying off debt will be harder than selling foie gras at a vegan convention. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Delfingen Industry's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So if you're keen to discover more about its earnings, it might be worth checking out this graph of its long term earnings trend.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Looking at the most recent three years, Delfingen Industry recorded free cash flow of 31% of its EBIT, which is weaker than we'd expect. That weak cash conversion makes it more difficult to handle indebtedness.

Our View

Mulling over Delfingen Industry's attempt at (not) growing its EBIT, we're certainly not enthusiastic. But at least its interest cover is not so bad. We're quite clear that we consider Delfingen Industry to be really rather risky, as a result of its balance sheet health. So we're almost as wary of this stock as a hungry kitten is about falling into its owner's fish pond: once bitten, twice shy, as they say. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 5 warning signs we've spotted with Delfingen Industry .

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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Delfingen Industry is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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About ENXTPA:ALDEL

Delfingen Industry

Delfingen Industry S.A. provides protection and routing systems for electrical networks, and on-board fluid transfer solutions to OEMs and automotive suppliers in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation1
Future Growth0
Past Performance1
Financial Health5
Dividends4

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Excellent balance sheet average dividend payer.