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Is Interparfums (EPA:ITP) Using Too Much Debt?
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 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. We can see that Interparfums SA (EPA:ITP) 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 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. 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. 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 Interparfums Carry?
The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at December 2022 Interparfums had debt of €147.0m, up from €109.8m in one year. However, it does have €136.7m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about €10.3m.
How Strong Is Interparfums' Balance Sheet?
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Interparfums had liabilities of €247.7m due within 12 months and liabilities of €145.6m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had €136.7m in cash and €170.7m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling €85.9m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.
Of course, Interparfums has a market capitalization of €3.98b, so these liabilities are probably manageable. Having said that, it's clear that we should continue to monitor its balance sheet, lest it change for the worse. Carrying virtually no net debt, Interparfums has a very light debt load indeed.
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). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).
With debt at a measly 0.065 times EBITDA and EBIT covering interest a whopping 171 times, it's clear that Interparfums is not a desperate borrower. Indeed relative to its earnings its debt load seems light as a feather. On top of that, Interparfums grew its EBIT by 31% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its 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 Interparfums'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, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Interparfums recorded negative free cash flow, in total. 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.
The good news is that Interparfums's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But we must concede we find its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow has the opposite effect. Taking all this data into account, it seems to us that Interparfums takes a pretty sensible approach to debt. That means they are taking on a bit more risk, in the hope of boosting shareholder returns. Over time, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, so if you're interested in Interparfums, you may well want to click here to check an interactive graph of its earnings per share history.
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.
Interparfums SA creates, manufactures, and distributes perfumes through proprietary basis or license agreements with brands in ready-to-wear, fashion, jewelry, and accessories sectors.
Solid track record with excellent balance sheet.