Is Enervit (BIT:ENV) Using Too Much Debt?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 19, 2021
BIT:ENV
Source: Shutterstock

David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' 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. Importantly, Enervit S.p.A. (BIT:ENV) does carry debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. 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. 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 Enervit

What Is Enervit's Net Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Enervit had debt of €18.5m at the end of June 2021, a reduction from €21.1m over a year. However, because it has a cash reserve of €14.5m, its net debt is less, at about €4.01m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BIT:ENV Debt to Equity History October 20th 2021

A Look At Enervit's Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Enervit had liabilities of €21.5m due within a year, and liabilities of €20.8m falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of €14.5m and €16.4m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by €11.3m.

Since publicly traded Enervit shares are worth a total of €69.8m, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Enervit's net debt is only 0.58 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 10.9 times over. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. Although Enervit made a loss at the EBIT level, last year, it was also good to see that it generated €3.3m in EBIT over the last twelve months. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Enervit can strengthen its balance sheet over time. 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 the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is backed by free cash flow. Over the last year, Enervit actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. That sort of strong cash generation warms our hearts like a puppy in a bumblebee suit.

Our View

Happily, Enervit's impressive conversion of EBIT to free cash flow implies it has the upper hand on its debt. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its interest cover is also very heartening. Looking at the bigger picture, we think Enervit's use of debt seems quite reasonable and we're not concerned about it. After all, sensible leverage can boost returns on equity. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Enervit (including 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) .

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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