- Healthcare Services
These 4 Measures Indicate That Korian (EPA:KORI) Is Using Debt Extensively
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 might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. We can see that Korian (EPA:KORI) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?
Why Does Debt Bring Risk?
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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
Check out our latest analysis for Korian
What Is Korian's Net Debt?
As you can see below, Korian had €4.51b of debt, at December 2022, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, it also had €826.9m in cash, and so its net debt is €3.68b.
A Look At Korian's Liabilities
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Korian had liabilities of €2.96b due within 12 months and liabilities of €7.74b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had €826.9m in cash and €792.6m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total €9.09b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.
This deficit casts a shadow over the €725.6m company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we definitely think shareholders need to watch this one closely. At the end of the day, Korian would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment.
In order to size up a company's debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its interest cover). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.
Korian shareholders face the double whammy of a high net debt to EBITDA ratio (7.5), and fairly weak interest coverage, since EBIT is just 1.3 times the interest expense. The debt burden here is substantial. On a slightly more positive note, Korian grew its EBIT at 12% over the last year, further increasing its ability to manage debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Korian's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.
Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Korian actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.
To be frank both Korian's interest cover and its track record of staying on top of its total liabilities make us rather uncomfortable with its debt levels. But on the bright side, its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. We should also note that Healthcare industry companies like Korian commonly do use debt without problems. Once we consider all the factors above, together, it seems to us that Korian's debt is making it a bit risky. Some people like that sort of risk, but we're mindful of the potential pitfalls, so we'd probably prefer it carry less debt. 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. Be aware that Korian is showing 5 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit concerning...
If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
Korian provides a range of medical and non-medical care and support services for the elderly and people with short or longer-term health issues.
Reasonable growth potential and fair value.