We Think Bioceres Crop Solutions (NASDAQ:BIOX) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 10, 2022
NasdaqGS:BIOX
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. Importantly, Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ:BIOX) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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, 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 examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

Check out our latest analysis for Bioceres Crop Solutions

What Is Bioceres Crop Solutions's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of December 2021, Bioceres Crop Solutions had US$187.8m of debt, up from US$164.6m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of US$39.9m, its net debt is less, at about US$147.9m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:BIOX Debt to Equity History April 10th 2022

A Look At Bioceres Crop Solutions' Liabilities

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Bioceres Crop Solutions had liabilities of US$181.6m falling due within a year, and liabilities of US$178.3m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$39.9m as well as receivables valued at US$138.2m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$181.9m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Bioceres Crop Solutions has a market capitalization of US$514.9m, 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.

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).

Bioceres Crop Solutions's debt is 2.9 times its EBITDA, and its EBIT cover its interest expense 3.3 times over. This suggests that while the debt levels are significant, we'd stop short of calling them problematic. Looking on the bright side, Bioceres Crop Solutions boosted its EBIT by a silky 40% in the last year. Like a mother's loving embrace of a newborn that sort of growth builds resilience, putting the company in a stronger position to manage its debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Bioceres Crop Solutions 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 it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. During the last three years, Bioceres Crop Solutions burned a lot of cash. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.

Our View

Bioceres Crop Solutions's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow and interest cover definitely weigh on it, in our esteem. But the good news is it seems to be able to grow its EBIT with ease. We think that Bioceres Crop Solutions's debt does make it a bit risky, after considering the aforementioned data points together. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. We've identified 3 warning signs with Bioceres Crop Solutions (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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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