Is Renew Holdings (LON:RNWH) Using Too Much Debt?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 25, 2022
AIM:RNWH
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. Importantly, Renew Holdings plc (LON:RNWH) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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. 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. 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.

View our latest analysis for Renew Holdings

How Much Debt Does Renew Holdings Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2021 Renew Holdings had UK£14.6m of debt, an increase on UK£13.1m, over one year. On the flip side, it has UK£881.0k in cash leading to net debt of about UK£13.7m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
AIM:RNWH Debt to Equity History February 25th 2022

A Look At Renew Holdings' Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Renew Holdings had liabilities of UK£231.2m due within 12 months and liabilities of UK£18.1m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of UK£881.0k as well as receivables valued at UK£148.9m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total UK£99.5m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Given Renew Holdings has a market capitalization of UK£524.4m, it's hard to believe these liabilities pose much threat. Having said that, it's clear that we should continue to monitor its balance sheet, lest it change for the worse.

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.

Renew Holdings has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.25. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 55.3 times over. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. In addition to that, we're happy to report that Renew Holdings has boosted its EBIT by 30%, 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 Renew Holdings 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 company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the last three years, Renew Holdings recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 93% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we'd usually expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

The good news is that Renew Holdings's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. And the good news does not stop there, as its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow also supports that impression! Considering this range of factors, it seems to us that Renew Holdings is quite prudent with its debt, and the risks seem well managed. So the balance sheet looks pretty healthy, to us. 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 2 warning signs for Renew Holdings you should be aware of.

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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