Is DiaSorin (BIT:DIA) Using Too Much Debt?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 03, 2021
BIT:DIA
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, '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. We note that DiaSorin S.p.A. (BIT:DIA) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own cash flow. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for DiaSorin

How Much Debt Does DiaSorin Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2021 DiaSorin had €108.8m of debt, an increase on none, over one year. Net debt is about the same, since the it doesn't have much cash.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BIT:DIA Debt to Equity History December 4th 2021

A Look At DiaSorin's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, DiaSorin had liabilities of €154.6m due within 12 months, and liabilities of €108.8m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of -€1.05b and €180.9m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities exceed the combination of its cash and short-term receivables by a very significant €1.13b.

Since publicly traded DiaSorin shares are worth a very impressive total of €9.67b, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.

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.

DiaSorin's net debt to EBITDA ratio of about 2.4 suggests only moderate use of debt. And its strong interest cover of 34.5 times, makes us even more comfortable. It is well worth noting that DiaSorin's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 62% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine DiaSorin's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. During the last three years, DiaSorin generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 82% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

DiaSorin's interest cover suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. We would also note that Medical Equipment industry companies like DiaSorin commonly do use debt without problems. Overall, we don't think DiaSorin is taking any bad risks, as its debt load seems modest. So we're not worried about the use of a little leverage on the balance sheet. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example - DiaSorin has 1 warning sign we think 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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