Stock Analysis

Is MIDI (MTSE:MDI) Using Debt In A Risky Way?

MTSE:MDI
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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.' 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. Importantly, MIDI p.l.c. (MTSE:MDI) does carry debt. 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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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. 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.

View our latest analysis for MIDI

How Much Debt Does MIDI Carry?

As you can see below, MIDI had €59.5m of debt, at December 2020, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of €11.5m, its net debt is less, at about €48.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
MTSE:MDI Debt to Equity History May 14th 2021

How Healthy Is MIDI's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that MIDI had liabilities of €49.3m due within a year, and liabilities of €76.5m falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of €11.5m and €2.41m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total €111.9m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

When you consider that this deficiency exceeds the company's €77.1m market capitalization, you might well be inclined to review the balance sheet intently. Hypothetically, extremely heavy dilution would be required if the company were forced to pay down its liabilities by raising capital at the current share price. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is MIDI'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.

Over 12 months, MIDI made a loss at the EBIT level, and saw its revenue drop to €2.8m, which is a fall of 90%. To be frank that doesn't bode well.

Caveat Emptor

Not only did MIDI's revenue slip over the last twelve months, but it also produced negative earnings before interest and tax (EBIT). To be specific the EBIT loss came in at €1.2m. When we look at that alongside the significant liabilities, we're not particularly confident about the company. It would need to improve its operations quickly for us to be interested in it. Not least because it had negative free cash flow of €12m over the last twelve months. So suffice it to say we consider the stock to be risky. 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. Be aware that MIDI is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those shouldn't be ignored...

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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