Stock Analysis

We Think Resideo Technologies (NYSE:REZI) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

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NYSE:REZI
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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.' 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. We can see that Resideo Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:REZI) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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, the upside of debt is that it often represents cheap capital, especially when it replaces dilution in a company with the ability to reinvest at high rates of return. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Resideo Technologies

What Is Resideo Technologies's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Resideo Technologies had US$1.23b of debt in October 2021, down from US$1.32b, one year before. However, it also had US$686.0m in cash, and so its net debt is US$546.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:REZI Debt to Equity History November 28th 2021

How Strong Is Resideo Technologies' Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Resideo Technologies had liabilities of US$1.53b falling due within a year, and liabilities of US$2.14b due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$686.0m as well as receivables valued at US$932.0m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$2.06b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Resideo Technologies has a market capitalization of US$3.84b, 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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Resideo Technologies's net debt is only 0.78 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 11.9 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. On the other hand, Resideo Technologies saw its EBIT drop by 2.2% in the last twelve months. If earnings continue to decline at that rate the company may have increasing difficulty managing its debt load. 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 Resideo Technologies 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 it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. In the last three years, Resideo Technologies's free cash flow amounted to 21% of its EBIT, less than we'd expect. That weak cash conversion makes it more difficult to handle indebtedness.

Our View

Neither Resideo Technologies's ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow nor its level of total liabilities gave us confidence in its ability to take on more debt. But the good news is it seems to be able to cover its interest expense with its EBIT with ease. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Resideo Technologies is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Resideo Technologies 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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