Stock Analysis

Oceaneering International (NYSE:OII) Has A Rock Solid Balance Sheet

NYSE:OII
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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. We note that Oceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE:OII) does have debt on its balance sheet. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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, the upside of debt is that it often represents cheap capital, especially when it replaces dilution in a company with the ability to reinvest at high rates of return. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Oceaneering International

How Much Debt Does Oceaneering International Carry?

As you can see below, Oceaneering International had US$700.4m of debt, at June 2023, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, it does have US$510.4m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$190.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:OII Debt to Equity History August 8th 2023

A Look At Oceaneering International's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Oceaneering International had liabilities of US$615.0m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$998.3m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of US$510.4m and US$584.8m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling US$518.2m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit isn't so bad because Oceaneering International is worth US$2.10b, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt.

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).

While Oceaneering International's low debt to EBITDA ratio of 0.69 suggests only modest use of debt, the fact that EBIT only covered the interest expense by 6.6 times last year does give us pause. So we'd recommend keeping a close eye on the impact financing costs are having on the business. Better yet, Oceaneering International grew its EBIT by 560% last year, which is an impressive improvement. That boost will make it even easier to pay down debt going forward. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Oceaneering International 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.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the last three years, Oceaneering International actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. 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. And the good news does not stop there, as its EBIT growth rate also supports that impression! Looking at the bigger picture, we think Oceaneering International's use of debt seems quite reasonable and we're not concerned about it. After all, sensible leverage can boost returns on equity. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. 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.

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.

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.