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 Textainer Group Holdings Limited (NYSE:TGH) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
Why Does Debt Bring Risk?
Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. 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, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.
What Is Textainer Group Holdings's Debt?
As you can see below, at the end of June 2022, Textainer Group Holdings had US$5.71b of debt, up from US$4.84b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, it does have US$220.4m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$5.49b.
How Healthy Is Textainer Group Holdings' Balance Sheet?
The latest balance sheet data shows that Textainer Group Holdings had liabilities of US$618.5m due within a year, and liabilities of US$5.35b falling due after that. Offsetting this, it had US$220.4m in cash and US$327.0m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$5.42b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.
This deficit casts a shadow over the US$1.59b company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. After all, Textainer Group Holdings would likely require a major re-capitalisation if it had to pay its creditors today.
In order to size up a company's debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.
Textainer Group Holdings has a rather high debt to EBITDA ratio of 7.2 which suggests a meaningful debt load. But the good news is that it boasts fairly comforting interest cover of 3.3 times, suggesting it can responsibly service its obligations. The good news is that Textainer Group Holdings grew its EBIT a smooth 43% over the last twelve months. Like a mother's loving embrace of a newborn that sort of growth builds resilience, putting the company in a stronger position to manage its debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Textainer Group Holdings'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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, Textainer Group Holdings saw substantial negative free cash flow, in total. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.
On the face of it, Textainer Group Holdings's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow left us tentative about the stock, and its level of total liabilities was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But on the bright side, its EBIT growth rate is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. We're quite clear that we consider Textainer Group Holdings to be really rather risky, as a result of its balance sheet health. So we're almost as wary of this stock as a hungry kitten is about falling into its owner's fish pond: once bitten, twice shy, as they say. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. Be aware that Textainer Group Holdings is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those are concerning...
When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.
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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.
Textainer Group Holdings
Textainer Group Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, purchases, owns, manages, leases, and disposes a fleet of intermodal containers worldwide.
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.
Fair value with acceptable track record.