These 4 Measures Indicate That Develia (WSE:DVL) Is Using Debt Reasonably Well

August 09, 2022
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.' 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. We can see that Develia S.A. (WSE:DVL) does use debt in its business. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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 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 Develia

How Much Debt Does Develia Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Develia had zł625.5m of debt in March 2022, down from zł779.1m, one year before. But on the other hand it also has zł720.7m in cash, leading to a zł95.2m net cash position.

WSE:DVL Debt to Equity History August 9th 2022

A Look At Develia's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Develia had liabilities of zł1.33b due within 12 months and liabilities of zł581.5m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of zł720.7m as well as receivables valued at zł78.7m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by zł1.11b.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of zł1.17b, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Develia's use of debt. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution. Despite its noteworthy liabilities, Develia boasts net cash, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

Better yet, Develia grew its EBIT by 105% last year, which is an impressive improvement. 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 Develia'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, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. While Develia has net cash on its balance sheet, it's still worth taking a look at its ability to convert earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, to help us understand how quickly it is building (or eroding) that cash balance. In the last three years, Develia's free cash flow amounted to 36% of its EBIT, less than we'd expect. That's not great, when it comes to paying down debt.

Summing Up

While Develia does have more liabilities than liquid assets, it also has net cash of zł95.2m. And we liked the look of last year's 105% year-on-year EBIT growth. So we don't have any problem with Develia's use of debt. 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 Develia is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those makes us a bit uncomfortable...

Of course, if you're the type of investor who prefers buying stocks without the burden of debt, then don't hesitate to discover our exclusive list of net cash growth stocks, today.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Develia is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis