We Think ENAV (BIT:ENAV) Can Stay On Top Of Its Debt
Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. We can see that ENAV S.p.A. (BIT:ENAV) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?
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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. Of course, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
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How Much Debt Does ENAV Carry?
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that ENAV had €614.4m of debt in September 2022, down from €661.8m, one year before. However, it also had €255.6m in cash, and so its net debt is €358.8m.
A Look At ENAV's Liabilities
We can see from the most recent balance sheet that ENAV had liabilities of €755.5m falling due within a year, and liabilities of €464.6m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €255.6m as well as receivables valued at €394.8m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total €569.8m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.
ENAV has a market capitalization of €2.10b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt.
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).
ENAV has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 1.3. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 62.7 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. Even more impressive was the fact that ENAV grew its EBIT by 364% over twelve months. If maintained that growth will make the debt even more manageable in the years ahead. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine ENAV'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.
Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, ENAV saw substantial negative free cash flow, in total. While that may be a result of expenditure for growth, it does make the debt far more risky.
ENAV's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow was a real negative on this analysis, although the other factors we considered were considerably better. In particular, we are dazzled with its interest cover. It's also worth noting that ENAV is in the Infrastructure industry, which is often considered to be quite defensive. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that ENAV is managing its debt quite well. But a word of caution: we think debt levels are high enough to justify ongoing monitoring. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. Be aware that ENAV is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...
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.
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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.
ENAV S.p.A. provides air traffic control and management, and other air navigation services in Italy, the rest of Europe, and internationally.
Good value with adequate balance sheet.