We Think IMCD (AMS:IMCD) Can Manage Its Debt With Ease

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 29, 2021
ENXTAM:IMCD
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.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. As with many other companies IMCD N.V. (AMS:IMCD) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. Of course, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for IMCD

What Is IMCD's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of June 2021, IMCD had €955.1m of debt, up from €873.4m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of €138.4m, its net debt is less, at about €816.8m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ENXTAM:IMCD Debt to Equity History October 30th 2021

A Look At IMCD's Liabilities

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that IMCD had liabilities of €949.1m falling due within a year, and liabilities of €669.0m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €138.4m as well as receivables valued at €615.8m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling €863.9m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Of course, IMCD has a titanic market capitalization of €10.9b, so these liabilities are probably manageable. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.

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).

IMCD has a debt to EBITDA ratio of 2.6, which signals significant debt, but is still pretty reasonable for most types of business. But its EBIT was about 13.8 times its interest expense, implying the company isn't really paying a high cost to maintain that level of debt. Even were the low cost to prove unsustainable, that is a good sign. It is well worth noting that IMCD's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 37% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. 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 IMCD can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, IMCD recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 87% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we'd usually expect. That positions it well to pay down debt if desirable to do so.

Our View

The good news is that IMCD's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its net debt to EBITDA. Overall, we don't think IMCD 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for IMCD you should know about.

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.

Discounted cash flow calculation for every stock

Simply Wall St does a detailed discounted cash flow calculation every 6 hours for every stock on the market, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any company just search here. It’s FREE.

Make Confident Investment Decisions

Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.