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. Importantly, Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE:MHK) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?
Why Does Debt Bring Risk?
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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.
What Is Mohawk Industries's Debt?
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Mohawk Industries had US$2.50b of debt in July 2022, down from US$2.63b, one year before. However, it does have US$489.0m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$2.01b.
A Look At Mohawk Industries' Liabilities
According to the last reported balance sheet, Mohawk Industries had liabilities of US$3.92b due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$2.16b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had US$489.0m in cash and US$2.11b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$3.49b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.
Mohawk Industries has a market capitalization of US$6.74b, 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.
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). 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).
Mohawk Industries's net debt is only 1.1 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 25.9 times over. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. Mohawk Industries's EBIT was pretty flat over the last year, but that shouldn't be an issue given the it doesn't have a lot of debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Mohawk Industries'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.
But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last three years, Mohawk Industries produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 77% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.
Mohawk Industries's interest cover suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. But truth be told we feel its level of total liabilities does undermine this impression a bit. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Mohawk Industries can handle its debt fairly comfortably. On the plus side, this leverage can boost shareholder returns, but the potential downside is more risk of loss, so it's worth monitoring the balance sheet. 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. We've identified 1 warning sign with Mohawk Industries , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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.
Mohawk Industries, Inc. designs, manufactures, sources, distributes, and markets flooring products for remodeling and new constructions of residential and commercial spaces in the United States, Europe, Russia, 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)|
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Flawless balance sheet with moderate growth potential.