Stock Analysis

Is DXP Enterprises (NASDAQ:DXPE) Using Too Much Debt?

  •  Updated
NasdaqGS:DXPE
Source: Shutterstock

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.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. Importantly, DXP Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:DXPE) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for DXP Enterprises

What Is DXP Enterprises's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of June 2022 DXP Enterprises had US$347.1m of debt, an increase on US$319.6m, over one year. On the flip side, it has US$20.6m in cash leading to net debt of about US$326.5m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:DXPE Debt to Equity History August 11th 2022

How Strong Is DXP Enterprises' Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, DXP Enterprises had liabilities of US$237.5m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$371.8m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$20.6m as well as receivables valued at US$299.3m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$289.4m.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since DXP Enterprises has a market capitalization of US$530.9m, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

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).

DXP Enterprises has a debt to EBITDA ratio of 3.5 and its EBIT covered its interest expense 3.1 times. This suggests that while the debt levels are significant, we'd stop short of calling them problematic. However, it should be some comfort for shareholders to recall that DXP Enterprises actually grew its EBIT by a hefty 306%, over the last 12 months. If that earnings trend continues it will make its debt load much more manageable in the future. 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 DXP Enterprises 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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, DXP Enterprises actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

The good news is that DXP Enterprises's demonstrated ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But we must concede we find its interest cover has the opposite effect. All these things considered, it appears that DXP Enterprises can comfortably handle its current debt levels. Of course, while this leverage can enhance returns on equity, it does bring more risk, so it's worth keeping an eye on this one. 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. We've identified 1 warning sign with DXP Enterprises , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

If you're interested in investing in businesses that can grow profits without the burden of debt, then check out this free list of growing businesses that have net cash on the balance sheet.

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

Find out whether DXP 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.

View the Free Analysis

About NasdaqGS:DXPE

DXP Enterprises

DXP Enterprises, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in distributing maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) products, equipment, and services to the energy and industrial customers primarily in the United States and Canada.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation4
Future Growth0
Past Performance4
Financial Health3
Dividends0

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Good value with proven track record.