Stock Analysis

Is Coty (NYSE:COTY) Using Debt In A Risky Way?

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NYSE:COTY
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Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. Importantly, Coty Inc. (NYSE:COTY) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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. 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. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Coty

What Is Coty's Debt?

As you can see below, Coty had US$5.38b of debt at March 2021, down from US$9.36b a year prior. However, it also had US$315.3m in cash, and so its net debt is US$5.06b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:COTY Debt to Equity History August 27th 2021

How Strong Is Coty's Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Coty had liabilities of US$2.57b due within 12 months and liabilities of US$6.76b due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of US$315.3m and US$509.9m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total US$8.50b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

When you consider that this deficiency exceeds the company's US$6.31b market capitalization, you might well be inclined to review the balance sheet intently. In the scenario where the company had to clean up its balance sheet quickly, it seems likely shareholders would suffer extensive dilution. 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 Coty'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.

Over 12 months, Coty reported revenue of US$4.1b, which is a gain of 5.5%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. That rate of growth is a bit slow for our taste, but it takes all types to make a world.

Caveat Emptor

Over the last twelve months Coty produced an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at US$198m. When we look at that alongside the significant liabilities, we're not particularly confident about the company. We'd want to see some strong near-term improvements before getting too interested in the stock. Not least because it burned through US$174m in negative free cash flow over the last year. That means it's on the risky side of things. When I consider a company to be a bit risky, I think it is responsible to check out whether insiders have been reporting any share sales. Luckily, you can click here ito see our graphic depicting Coty insider transactions.

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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What are the risks and opportunities for Coty?

Coty Inc., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells beauty products worldwide.

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Rewards

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 29.11% per year

  • Became profitable this year

Risks

  • Interest payments are not well covered by earnings

  • Large one-off items impacting financial results

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