Stock Analysis

Amneal Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:AMRX) Has A Somewhat Strained Balance Sheet

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NYSE:AMRX
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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. As with many other companies Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:AMRX) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free 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 usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Amneal Pharmaceuticals

How Much Debt Does Amneal Pharmaceuticals Carry?

As you can see below, Amneal Pharmaceuticals had US$2.79b of debt, at September 2021, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of US$304.8m, its net debt is less, at about US$2.48b.

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NYSE:AMRX Debt to Equity History November 23rd 2021

A Look At Amneal Pharmaceuticals' Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Amneal Pharmaceuticals had liabilities of US$667.3m due within a year, and liabilities of US$2.91b falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of US$304.8m and US$695.8m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling US$2.58b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the US$1.38b company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. After all, Amneal Pharmaceuticals would likely require a major re-capitalisation if it had to pay its creditors today.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Amneal Pharmaceuticals shareholders face the double whammy of a high net debt to EBITDA ratio (5.7), and fairly weak interest coverage, since EBIT is just 1.5 times the interest expense. This means we'd consider it to have a heavy debt load. Looking on the bright side, Amneal Pharmaceuticals boosted its EBIT by a silky 74% in the last year. Like the milk of human kindness that sort of growth increases resilience, making the company more capable of managing 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 Amneal Pharmaceuticals 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 it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Amneal Pharmaceuticals actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. That sort of strong cash generation warms our hearts like a puppy in a bumblebee suit.

Our View

We feel some trepidation about Amneal Pharmaceuticals's difficulty level of total liabilities, but we've got positives to focus on, too. To wit both its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow and EBIT growth rate were encouraging signs. When we consider all the factors discussed, it seems to us that Amneal Pharmaceuticals is taking some risks with its use of debt. So while that leverage does boost returns on equity, we wouldn't really want to see it increase from here. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 4 warning signs we've spotted with Amneal Pharmaceuticals (including 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) .

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.

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