Stock Analysis

Oceaneering International (NYSE:OII) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

NYSE:OII
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Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a 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. As with many other companies Oceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE:OII) makes use of debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. 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.

See our latest analysis for Oceaneering International

How Much Debt Does Oceaneering International Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Oceaneering International had US$701.5m of debt in June 2022, down from US$773.4m, one year before. On the flip side, it has US$374.2m in cash leading to net debt of about US$327.4m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:OII Debt to Equity History September 22nd 2022

How Strong Is Oceaneering International's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Oceaneering International had liabilities of US$472.7m due within a year, and liabilities of US$923.0m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$374.2m as well as receivables valued at US$533.2m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$488.3m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Oceaneering International has a market capitalization of US$841.2m, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. 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.

Even though Oceaneering International's debt is only 2.1, its interest cover is really very low at 0.72. The main reason for this is that it has such high depreciation and amortisation. While companies often boast that these charges are non-cash, most such businesses will therefore require ongoing investment (that is not expensed.) In any case, it's safe to say the company has meaningful debt. It is well worth noting that Oceaneering International's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 31% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Oceaneering International 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, 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. Happily for any shareholders, Oceaneering International actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last two years. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

Happily, Oceaneering International's impressive conversion of EBIT to free cash flow implies it has the upper hand on its debt. But the stark truth is that we are concerned by its interest cover. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Oceaneering International can handle its debt fairly comfortably. Of course, while this leverage can enhance returns on equity, it does bring more risk, so it's worth keeping an eye on this one. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Oceaneering International that you should be aware of.

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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Oceaneering International is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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.