Stock Analysis

Apogee Enterprises (NASDAQ:APOG) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

NasdaqGS:APOG
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Howard Marks put it nicely when he said that, rather than worrying about share price volatility, 'The possibility of permanent loss is the risk I worry about... and every practical investor I know worries about.' 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 note that Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. 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.

View our latest analysis for Apogee Enterprises

How Much Debt Does Apogee Enterprises Carry?

As you can see below, Apogee Enterprises had US$170.7m of debt at May 2023, down from US$261.0m a year prior. However, it also had US$24.6m in cash, and so its net debt is US$146.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:APOG Debt to Equity History June 26th 2023

How Healthy Is Apogee Enterprises' Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Apogee Enterprises had liabilities of US$233.2m due within 12 months and liabilities of US$277.8m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had US$24.6m in cash and US$256.7m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$229.7m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Apogee Enterprises has a market capitalization of US$1.04b, 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.

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). 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).

Apogee Enterprises's net debt is only 0.87 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 14.9 times the size. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. The good news is that Apogee Enterprises has increased its EBIT by 8.6% over twelve months, which should ease any concerns about debt repayment. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Apogee Enterprises'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. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. During the last three years, Apogee Enterprises produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 77% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Our View

Apogee Enterprises'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 that's just the beginning of the good news since its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. Looking at the bigger picture, we think Apogee Enterprises's use of debt seems quite reasonable and we're not concerned about it. After all, sensible leverage can boost returns on equity. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example - Apogee Enterprises has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

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.

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

Find out whether Apogee Enterprises 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.

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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.