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 might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. As with many other companies SPX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:SPXC) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?
What Risk Does Debt Bring?
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. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
How Much Debt Does SPX Technologies Carry?
As you can see below, SPX Technologies had US$238.6m of debt at July 2022, down from US$414.0m a year prior. However, it does have US$189.8m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$48.8m.
How Healthy Is SPX Technologies' Balance Sheet?
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that SPX Technologies had liabilities of US$368.2m due within 12 months and liabilities of US$1.03b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had US$189.8m in cash and US$274.4m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$936.8m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.
SPX Technologies has a market capitalization of US$2.64b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. 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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.
SPX Technologies has net debt of just 0.40 times EBITDA, indicating that it is certainly not a reckless borrower. And it boasts interest cover of 8.0 times, which is more than adequate. It is just as well that SPX Technologies's load is not too heavy, because its EBIT was down 34% over the last year. Falling earnings (if the trend continues) could eventually make even modest debt quite risky. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if SPX Technologies can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Over the last three years, SPX Technologies recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 94% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we'd usually expect. That positions it well to pay down debt if desirable to do so.
Based on what we've seen SPX Technologies is not finding it easy, given its EBIT growth rate, but the other factors we considered give us cause to be optimistic. In particular, we are dazzled with its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that SPX Technologies is managing its debt quite well. But a word of caution: we think debt levels are high enough to justify ongoing monitoring. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for SPX Technologies 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.
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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.
SPX Technologies, Inc. supplies infrastructure equipment serving the heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC); and detection and measurement markets in the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and internationally.
The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.
|Analysis Area||Score (0-6)|
Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.
Adequate balance sheet with moderate growth potential.