NCAB Group (STO:NCAB) Has A Rock Solid Balance Sheet

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 24, 2021
OM:NCAB
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. As with many other companies NCAB Group AB (publ) (STO:NCAB) makes use of debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own cash flow. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for NCAB Group

What Is NCAB Group's Debt?

As you can see below, NCAB Group had kr308.1m of debt at September 2021, down from kr341.2m a year prior. However, it does have kr120.6m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about kr187.5m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
OM:NCAB Debt to Equity History November 24th 2021

How Strong Is NCAB Group's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, NCAB Group had liabilities of kr821.4m due within 12 months, and liabilities of kr306.0m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of kr120.6m as well as receivables valued at kr723.4m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling kr283.4m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This state of affairs indicates that NCAB Group's balance sheet looks quite solid, as its total liabilities are just about equal to its liquid assets. So while it's hard to imagine that the kr17.3b company is struggling for cash, we still think it's worth monitoring its balance sheet. But either way, NCAB Group has virtually no net debt, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

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).

NCAB Group has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.52. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 43.0 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. Better yet, NCAB Group grew its EBIT by 102% last year, which is an impressive improvement. That boost will make it even easier to pay down debt going forward. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine NCAB 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 it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, NCAB Group recorded free cash flow worth 60% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

NCAB Group's interest cover suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. And the good news does not stop there, as its EBIT growth rate also supports that impression! Overall, we don't think NCAB Group 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. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for NCAB Group you should be aware of, and 1 of them shouldn't be ignored.

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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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Simply Wall St

Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.