Stock Analysis

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

TASE:NTO
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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.' 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. 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 Dangerous?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. 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. Of course, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Neto M.E Holdings

What Is Neto M.E Holdings's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Neto M.E Holdings had ₪291.2m of debt in March 2021, down from ₪559.1m, one year before. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₪73.4m, its net debt is less, at about ₪217.9m.

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

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

According to the last reported balance sheet, Neto M.E Holdings had liabilities of ₪822.1m due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₪41.4m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₪73.4m as well as receivables valued at ₪933.5m due within 12 months. So it actually has ₪143.5m more liquid assets than total liabilities.

This excess liquidity suggests that Neto M.E Holdings is taking a careful approach to debt. Because it has plenty of assets, it is unlikely to have trouble with its lenders.

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

Neto M.E Holdings has net debt of just 0.86 times EBITDA, suggesting it could ramp leverage without breaking a sweat. And remarkably, despite having net debt, it actually received more in interest over the last twelve months than it had to pay. 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 37% 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 you can't view debt in total isolation; since Neto M.E Holdings 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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, Neto M.E Holdings recorded free cash flow worth 72% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

The good news is that Neto M.E Holdings's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its EBIT growth rate is also very heartening. It looks Neto M.E Holdings has no trouble standing on its own two feet, and it has no reason to fear its lenders. To our minds it has a healthy happy balance sheet. Over time, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, so if you're interested in Neto M.E Holdings, you may well want to click here to check an interactive graph of its earnings per share history.

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. 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.
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