Is TV Azteca. de (BMV:AZTECACPO) Using Too Much 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 TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV:AZTECACPO) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?
What Risk Does Debt Bring?
Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
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What Is TV Azteca. de's Net Debt?
The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that TV Azteca. de had debt of Mex$9.84b at the end of September 2022, a reduction from Mex$12.6b over a year. On the flip side, it has Mex$2.80b in cash leading to net debt of about Mex$7.04b.
How Strong Is TV Azteca. de's Balance Sheet?
The latest balance sheet data shows that TV Azteca. de had liabilities of Mex$21.7b due within a year, and liabilities of Mex$3.23b falling due after that. Offsetting this, it had Mex$2.80b in cash and Mex$4.10b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by Mex$18.0b.
This deficit casts a shadow over the Mex$1.48b company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. After all, TV Azteca. de would likely require a major re-capitalisation if it had to pay its creditors today.
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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.
TV Azteca. de has net debt worth 1.8 times EBITDA, which isn't too much, but its interest cover looks a bit on the low side, with EBIT at only 3.4 times the interest expense. While that doesn't worry us too much, it does suggest the interest payments are somewhat of a burden. We saw TV Azteca. de grow its EBIT by 2.8% in the last twelve months. That's far from incredible but it is a good thing, when it comes to paying off 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 TV Azteca. de 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, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Over the last three years, TV Azteca. de actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.
Mulling over TV Azteca. de's attempt at staying on top of its total liabilities, we're certainly not enthusiastic. But at least it's pretty decent at converting EBIT to free cash flow; that's encouraging. Once we consider all the factors above, together, it seems to us that TV Azteca. de's debt is making it a bit risky. Some people like that sort of risk, but we're mindful of the potential pitfalls, so we'd probably prefer it carry less debt. 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. We've identified 4 warning signs with TV Azteca. de (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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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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.
About BMV:AZTECA CPO
TV Azteca. de
TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the production of Spanish-language television content worldwide.
Solid track record and good value.