These 4 Measures Indicate That Augros Cosmetic Packaging (EPA:AUGR) Is Using Debt Extensively

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 28, 2021
ENXTPA:AUGR
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. We note that Augros Cosmetic Packaging SA (EPA:AUGR) does have debt on its balance sheet. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. However, a more frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

View our latest analysis for Augros Cosmetic Packaging

What Is Augros Cosmetic Packaging's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2021 Augros Cosmetic Packaging had debt of €5.51m, up from €3.56m in one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of €2.17m, its net debt is less, at about €3.34m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ENXTPA:AUGR Debt to Equity History October 29th 2021

A Look At Augros Cosmetic Packaging's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Augros Cosmetic Packaging had liabilities of €5.67m due within 12 months and liabilities of €4.01m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €2.17m as well as receivables valued at €2.89m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling €4.62m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This is a mountain of leverage relative to its market capitalization of €6.99m. This suggests shareholders would be heavily diluted if the company needed to shore up its balance sheet in a hurry.

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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Augros Cosmetic Packaging has a debt to EBITDA ratio of 2.8, which signals significant debt, but is still pretty reasonable for most types of business. But its EBIT was about 11.9 times its interest expense, implying the company isn't really paying a high cost to maintain that level of debt. Even were the low cost to prove unsustainable, that is a good sign. Notably, Augros Cosmetic Packaging made a loss at the EBIT level, last year, but improved that to positive EBIT of €385k in the last twelve months. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Augros Cosmetic Packaging will need earnings to service that debt. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So it is important to check how much of its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) converts to actual free cash flow. Over the last year, Augros Cosmetic Packaging saw substantial negative free cash flow, in total. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.

Our View

We'd go so far as to say Augros Cosmetic Packaging's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow was disappointing. But on the bright side, its interest cover is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. Once we consider all the factors above, together, it seems to us that Augros Cosmetic Packaging'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. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. We've identified 4 warning signs with Augros Cosmetic Packaging (at least 3 which can't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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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