Stock Analysis

Neto M.E Holdings (TLV:NTO) Could Easily Take On More Debt

TASE:NTO
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Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' So it might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. As with many other companies Neto M.E Holdings Ltd (TLV:NTO) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

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. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Neto M.E Holdings

How Much Debt Does Neto M.E Holdings Carry?

As you can see below, Neto M.E Holdings had ₪378.5m of debt at December 2020, down from ₪399.5m a year prior. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₪88.4m, its net debt is less, at about ₪290.1m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TASE:NTO Debt to Equity History April 14th 2021

How Healthy Is Neto M.E Holdings' Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Neto M.E Holdings had liabilities of ₪738.6m due within 12 months and liabilities of ₪42.7m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had ₪88.4m in cash and ₪892.0m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it actually has ₪199.1m more liquid assets than total liabilities.

This excess liquidity is a great indication that Neto M.E Holdings' balance sheet is almost as strong as Fort Knox. Having regard to this fact, we think its balance sheet is as strong as an ox.

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).

Neto M.E Holdings has a low debt to EBITDA ratio of only 1.2. But the really cool thing is that it actually managed to receive more interest than it paid, over the last year. So there's no doubt this company can take on debt while staying cool as a cucumber. On top of that, Neto M.E Holdings grew its EBIT by 56% 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 Neto M.E Holdings's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last three years, Neto M.E Holdings produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 76% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Our View

Happily, Neto M.E Holdings's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. And the good news does not stop there, as its EBIT growth rate also supports that impression! It looks Neto M.E Holdings has no trouble standing on its own two feet, and it has no reason to fear its lenders. For investing nerds like us its balance sheet is almost charming. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Neto M.E Holdings you should be aware of.

At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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