Does Navios Maritime Acquisition (NYSE:NNA) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

Simply Wall St
August 18, 2021
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David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. We can see that Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation (NYSE:NNA) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Navios Maritime Acquisition

How Much Debt Does Navios Maritime Acquisition Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Navios Maritime Acquisition had US$731.0m of debt in March 2021, down from US$858.7m, one year before. However, it also had US$45.7m in cash, and so its net debt is US$685.4m.

NYSE:NNA Debt to Equity History August 19th 2021

How Healthy Is Navios Maritime Acquisition's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Navios Maritime Acquisition had liabilities of US$762.6m due within a year, and liabilities of US$496.5m falling due after that. Offsetting this, it had US$45.7m in cash and US$8.25m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$1.21b.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the US$35.8m company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we definitely think shareholders need to watch this one closely. At the end of the day, Navios Maritime Acquisition would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment.

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.

While Navios Maritime Acquisition's debt to EBITDA ratio (4.6) suggests that it uses some debt, its interest cover is very weak, at 1.1, suggesting high leverage. It seems clear that the cost of borrowing money is negatively impacting returns for shareholders, of late. On a lighter note, we note that Navios Maritime Acquisition grew its EBIT by 21% in the last year. If it can maintain that kind of improvement, its debt load will begin to melt away like glaciers in a warming world. 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 Navios Maritime Acquisition'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 business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, Navios Maritime Acquisition reported free cash flow worth 6.8% of its EBIT, which is really quite low. That limp level of cash conversion undermines its ability to manage and pay down debt.

Our View

On the face of it, Navios Maritime Acquisition's interest cover 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. Overall, it seems to us that Navios Maritime Acquisition's balance sheet is really quite a risk to the business. For this reason we're pretty cautious about the stock, and we think shareholders should keep a close eye on its liquidity. 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. For example Navios Maritime Acquisition has 5 warning signs (and 1 which is potentially serious) we think 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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