These 4 Measures Indicate That Virbac (EPA:VIRP) Is Using Debt Safely

June 26, 2022
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David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' 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 can see that Virbac SA (EPA:VIRP) does use debt in its business. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

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. 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. 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Virbac

How Much Debt Does Virbac Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Virbac had €59.6m of debt in December 2021, down from €82.9m, one year before. But it also has €174.6m in cash to offset that, meaning it has €115.0m net cash.

ENXTPA:VIRP Debt to Equity History June 26th 2022

How Strong Is Virbac's Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Virbac had liabilities of €370.8m due within 12 months and liabilities of €105.6m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of €174.6m and €169.0m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling €132.8m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Given Virbac has a market capitalization of €3.05b, it's hard to believe these liabilities pose much threat. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time. While it does have liabilities worth noting, Virbac also has more cash than debt, so we're pretty confident it can manage its debt safely.

In addition to that, we're happy to report that Virbac has boosted its EBIT by 40%, thus reducing the spectre of future debt repayments. 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 Virbac 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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. While Virbac has net cash on its balance sheet, it's still worth taking a look at its ability to convert earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, to help us understand how quickly it is building (or eroding) that cash balance. Over the most recent three years, Virbac recorded free cash flow worth 71% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Summing up

While it is always sensible to look at a company's total liabilities, it is very reassuring that Virbac has €115.0m in net cash. And we liked the look of last year's 40% year-on-year EBIT growth. So we don't think Virbac's use of debt is risky. Over time, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, so if you're interested in Virbac, you may well want to click here to check an interactive graph of its earnings per share history.

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

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Virbac SA manufactures and sells a range of products and services for companion and food-producing animals in France, Europe, Latin America, North America, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.

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)
Future Growth2
Past Performance2
Financial Health6

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

Flawless balance sheet and slightly overvalued.