Stock Analysis

These 4 Measures Indicate That Abiomed (NASDAQ:ABMD) Is Using Debt Safely

  •  Updated
NasdaqGS:ABMD
Source: Shutterstock

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 Abiomed, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABMD) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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. 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 Abiomed

What Is Abiomed's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of September 2021, Abiomed had US$2.77m of debt, up from none a year ago. Click the image for more detail. But on the other hand it also has US$650.6m in cash, leading to a US$647.8m net cash position.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:ABMD Debt to Equity History December 14th 2021

How Healthy Is Abiomed's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Abiomed had liabilities of US$114.0m falling due within a year, and liabilities of US$31.4m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$650.6m as well as receivables valued at US$89.6m due within 12 months. So it actually has US$594.7m more liquid assets than total liabilities.

This surplus suggests that Abiomed has a conservative balance sheet, and could probably eliminate its debt without much difficulty. Succinctly put, Abiomed boasts net cash, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

And we also note warmly that Abiomed grew its EBIT by 17% last year, making its debt load easier to handle. 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 Abiomed 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, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. While Abiomed has net cash on its balance sheet, it's still worth taking a look at its ability to convert earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, to help us understand how quickly it is building (or eroding) that cash balance. During the last three years, Abiomed generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 98% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That positions it well to pay down debt if desirable to do so.

Summing up

While we empathize with investors who find debt concerning, you should keep in mind that Abiomed has net cash of US$647.8m, as well as more liquid assets than liabilities. The cherry on top was that in converted 98% of that EBIT to free cash flow, bringing in US$233m. So is Abiomed's debt a risk? It doesn't seem so to us. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. For example - Abiomed has 3 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

What are the risks and opportunities for Abiomed?

Abiomed, Inc. engages in the research, development, and sale of medical devices to assist or replace the pumping function of the failing heart.

View Full Analysis

Rewards

  • Revenue is forecast to grow 13.08% per year

  • Earnings grew by 78.9% over the past year

Risks

  • Earnings are forecast to decline by an average of 2.5% per year for the next 3 years

  • Large one-off items impacting financial results

  • Volatile share price over the past 3 months

View all Risks and Rewards

Share Price

Market Cap

1Y Return

View Company Report