Stock Analysis

Titan Machinery (NASDAQ:TITN) Seems To Use Debt Quite Sensibly

NasdaqGS:TITN
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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 can see that Titan Machinery Inc. (NASDAQ:TITN) does use debt in its business. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt A Problem?

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 frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Titan Machinery

What Is Titan Machinery's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of January 2023, Titan Machinery had US$344.3m of debt, up from US$203.7m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. On the flip side, it has US$43.9m in cash leading to net debt of about US$300.4m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:TITN Debt to Equity History May 12th 2023

A Look At Titan Machinery's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Titan Machinery had liabilities of US$498.2m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$154.2m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had US$43.9m in cash and US$95.8m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$512.6m.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of US$736.7m, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Titan Machinery's use of debt. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.

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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Titan Machinery's net debt to EBITDA ratio of about 1.8 suggests only moderate use of debt. And its strong interest cover of 20.9 times, makes us even more comfortable. It is well worth noting that Titan Machinery's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 51% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Titan Machinery's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. 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 company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Titan Machinery recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 92% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we'd usually expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

Happily, Titan Machinery's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its level of total liabilities. Taking all this data into account, it seems to us that Titan Machinery takes a pretty sensible approach to debt. That means they are taking on a bit more risk, in the hope of boosting shareholder returns. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Titan Machinery you should be aware of.

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.

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

Find out whether Titan Machinery 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.