Is Me Today (NZSE:MEE) Using Too Much Debt?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 17, 2022
NZSE:MEE
Source: Shutterstock

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' So it might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. We note that Me Today Limited (NZSE:MEE) does have debt on its balance sheet. 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. 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Me Today

What Is Me Today's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2021 Me Today had NZ$13.2m of debt, an increase on none, over one year. However, it does have NZ$2.29m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about NZ$10.9m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NZSE:MEE Debt to Equity History January 17th 2022

A Look At Me Today's Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Me Today had liabilities of NZ$4.98m due within a year, and liabilities of NZ$13.1m falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of NZ$2.29m and NZ$1.95m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling NZ$13.8m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Me Today has a market capitalization of NZ$48.0m, 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. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is Me Today'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, Me Today reported revenue of NZ$3.1m, which is a gain of 288%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. That's virtually the hole-in-one of revenue growth!

Caveat Emptor

Despite the top line growth, Me Today still had an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss over the last year. Indeed, it lost NZ$3.9m at the EBIT level. Considering that alongside the liabilities mentioned above does not give us much confidence that company should be using so much debt. Quite frankly we think the balance sheet is far from match-fit, although it could be improved with time. However, it doesn't help that it burned through NZ$6.5m of cash over the last year. So in short it's a really risky stock. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for Me Today (of which 2 can't be ignored!) you should know about.

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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