Huntsman (NYSE:HUN) Has A Rock Solid Balance Sheet

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 23, 2022
NYSE:HUN
Source: Shutterstock

David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' 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 Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. 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. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Huntsman

What Is Huntsman's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Huntsman had US$1.55b of debt in December 2021, down from US$2.12b, one year before. However, because it has a cash reserve of US$1.04b, its net debt is less, at about US$509.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:HUN Debt to Equity History March 23rd 2022

A Look At Huntsman's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Huntsman had liabilities of US$2.05b due within 12 months and liabilities of US$2.78b due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of US$1.04b and US$1.19b worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$2.61b.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Huntsman has a market capitalization of US$8.50b, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

We use two main ratios to inform us about debt levels relative to earnings. The first is net debt divided by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), while the second is how many times its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) covers its interest expense (or its interest cover, for short). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Huntsman's net debt is only 0.47 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 11.9 times over. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. Better yet, Huntsman grew its EBIT by 217% last year, which is an impressive improvement. If maintained that growth will make the debt even more manageable in the years ahead. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Huntsman 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. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. During the last three years, Huntsman generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 83% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

Huntsman's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its EBIT growth rate is also very heartening. Overall, we don't think Huntsman is taking any bad risks, as its debt load seems modest. So the balance sheet looks pretty healthy, to us. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Huntsman (of which 1 can't be ignored!) you should know about.

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.

Discounted cash flow calculation for every stock

Simply Wall St does a detailed discounted cash flow calculation every 6 hours for every stock on the market, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any company just search here. It’s FREE.

Make Confident Investment Decisions

Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.