Is Lyko Group (STO:LYKO A) A Risky Investment?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 13, 2022
OM:LYKO A
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. Importantly, Lyko Group AB (publ) (STO:LYKO A) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

See our latest analysis for Lyko Group

How Much Debt Does Lyko Group Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Lyko Group had debt of kr61.5m at the end of September 2021, a reduction from kr75.9m over a year. On the flip side, it has kr26.0m in cash leading to net debt of about kr35.5m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
OM:LYKO A Debt to Equity History January 13th 2022

How Healthy Is Lyko Group's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Lyko Group had liabilities of kr410.8m due within 12 months, and liabilities of kr266.8m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of kr26.0m as well as receivables valued at kr43.9m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by kr607.7m.

Since publicly traded Lyko Group shares are worth a total of kr5.48b, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. Having said that, it's clear that we should continue to monitor its balance sheet, lest it change for the worse. Carrying virtually no net debt, Lyko Group has a very light debt load indeed.

In order to size up a company's debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its 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).

Lyko Group has net debt of just 0.38 times EBITDA, suggesting it could ramp leverage without breaking a sweat. And remarkably, despite having net debt, it actually received more in interest over the last twelve months than it had to pay. So it's fair to say it can handle debt like a hotshot teppanyaki chef handles cooking. Even more impressive was the fact that Lyko Group grew its EBIT by 511% over twelve months. That boost will make it even easier to pay down debt going forward. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Lyko Group'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 business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Lyko Group actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

Happily, Lyko Group's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. It looks Lyko Group has no trouble standing on its own two feet, and it has no reason to fear its lenders. To our minds it has a healthy happy balance sheet. 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. Be aware that Lyko Group is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , 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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