Stock Analysis

Here's Why Delta Plus Group (EPA:ALDLT) Can Manage Its Debt Responsibly

  •  Updated
ENXTPA:ALDLT
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. We note that Delta Plus Group (EPA:ALDLT) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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 Delta Plus Group

What Is Delta Plus Group's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2022 Delta Plus Group had debt of €224.8m, up from €144.5m in one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of €55.0m, its net debt is less, at about €169.7m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ENXTPA:ALDLT Debt to Equity History November 12th 2022

How Healthy Is Delta Plus Group's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Delta Plus Group had liabilities of €183.5m due within 12 months, and liabilities of €157.2m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €55.0m as well as receivables valued at €102.9m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by €182.7m.

This deficit isn't so bad because Delta Plus Group is worth €479.6m, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution.

We use two main ratios to inform us about debt levels relative to earnings. The first is net debt divided by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), while the second is how many times its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) covers its interest expense (or its interest cover, for short). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Delta Plus Group has a debt to EBITDA ratio of 3.1, which signals significant debt, but is still pretty reasonable for most types of business. However, its interest coverage of 22.0 is very high, suggesting that the interest expense on the debt is currently quite low. We saw Delta Plus Group grow its EBIT by 8.2% in the last twelve months. Whilst that hardly knocks our socks off it is a positive when it comes to debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Delta Plus Group can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, Delta Plus Group recorded free cash flow worth 66% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

Happily, Delta Plus Group's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its net debt to EBITDA. All these things considered, it appears that Delta Plus Group can comfortably handle its current debt levels. Of course, while this leverage can enhance returns on equity, it does bring more risk, so it's worth keeping an eye on this one. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Delta Plus Group you should be aware of.

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.

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

Find out whether Delta Plus Group 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.

View the Free Analysis