Alcadon Group (STO:ALCA) Seems To Use Debt Rather Sparingly

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 23, 2022
OM:ALCA
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. Importantly, Alcadon Group AB (publ) (STO:ALCA) does carry debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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.

See our latest analysis for Alcadon Group

What Is Alcadon Group's Net Debt?

As you can see below, Alcadon Group had kr130.0m of debt, at September 2021, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. On the flip side, it has kr30.9m in cash leading to net debt of about kr99.1m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
OM:ALCA Debt to Equity History February 23rd 2022

How Healthy Is Alcadon Group's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Alcadon Group had liabilities of kr207.9m falling due within a year, and liabilities of kr164.5m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of kr30.9m as well as receivables valued at kr131.1m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total kr210.4m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Since publicly traded Alcadon Group shares are worth a total of kr1.53b, 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.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Alcadon Group's net debt to EBITDA ratio of about 1.6 suggests only moderate use of debt. And its commanding EBIT of 12.3 times its interest expense, implies the debt load is as light as a peacock feather. On top of that, Alcadon Group grew its EBIT by 52% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle 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 Alcadon Group 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 we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the last three years, Alcadon Group recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 93% 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 Alcadon Group's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. And the good news does not stop there, as its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow also supports that impression! Overall, we don't think Alcadon Group is taking any bad risks, as its debt load seems modest. So the balance sheet looks pretty healthy, to us. 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. Be aware that Alcadon Group is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

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.

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