Stock Analysis

Is Neto M.E Holdings (TLV:NTO) A Risky Investment?

TASE:NTO
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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 can see that Neto M.E Holdings Ltd (TLV:NTO) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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 think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Neto M.E Holdings

What Is Neto M.E Holdings's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Neto M.E Holdings had ₪679.7m of debt in June 2023, down from ₪792.9m, one year before. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₪15.7m, its net debt is less, at about ₪664.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TASE:NTO Debt to Equity History October 9th 2023

A Look At Neto M.E Holdings' Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Neto M.E Holdings had liabilities of ₪1.01b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₪88.6m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₪15.7m as well as receivables valued at ₪1.21b due within 12 months. So it can boast ₪130.9m more liquid assets than total liabilities.

This surplus strongly suggests that Neto M.E Holdings has a rock-solid balance sheet (and the debt is of no concern whatsoever). With this in mind one could posit that its balance sheet means the company is able to handle some adversity.

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.

Neto M.E Holdings's debt is 4.0 times its EBITDA, and its EBIT cover its interest expense 4.6 times over. This suggests that while the debt levels are significant, we'd stop short of calling them problematic. Shareholders should be aware that Neto M.E Holdings's EBIT was down 49% last year. If that decline continues then paying off debt will be harder than selling foie gras at a vegan convention. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Neto M.E Holdings will need earnings to service that debt. So if you're keen to discover more about its earnings, it might be worth checking out this graph of its long term earnings trend.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. In the last three years, Neto M.E Holdings created free cash flow amounting to 11% of its EBIT, an uninspiring performance. That limp level of cash conversion undermines its ability to manage and pay down debt.

Our View

Neto M.E Holdings's EBIT growth rate was a real negative on this analysis, although the other factors we considered were considerably better. There's no doubt that its ability to to handle its total liabilities is pretty flash. Looking at all this data makes us feel a little cautious about Neto M.E Holdings's debt levels. While we appreciate debt can enhance returns on equity, we'd suggest that shareholders keep close watch on its debt levels, lest they increase. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. Be aware that Neto M.E Holdings is showing 5 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those shouldn't be ignored...

If you're interested in investing in businesses that can grow profits without the burden of debt, then check out this free list of growing businesses that have net cash on the balance sheet.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Neto M.E Holdings is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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.