Stock Analysis

Is Prestige Consumer Healthcare (NYSE:PBH) A Risky Investment?

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NYSE:PBH
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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.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. We can see that Prestige Consumer Healthcare Inc. (NYSE:PBH) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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

View our latest analysis for Prestige Consumer Healthcare

What Is Prestige Consumer Healthcare's Net Debt?

As you can see below, Prestige Consumer Healthcare had US$1.53b of debt, at December 2021, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. Net debt is about the same, since the it doesn't have much cash.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:PBH Debt to Equity History May 5th 2022

How Healthy Is Prestige Consumer Healthcare's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Prestige Consumer Healthcare had liabilities of US$135.1m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$2.01b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had US$21.0m in cash and US$134.3m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$1.99b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of US$2.73b, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Prestige Consumer Healthcare's use of debt. This suggests shareholders would be heavily diluted if the company needed to shore up its balance sheet in a hurry.

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.

Prestige Consumer Healthcare has a debt to EBITDA ratio of 4.2 and its EBIT covered its interest expense 4.9 times. This suggests that while the debt levels are significant, we'd stop short of calling them problematic. We saw Prestige Consumer Healthcare grow its EBIT by 9.4% in the last twelve months. That's far from incredible but it is a good thing, when it comes to paying off debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Prestige Consumer Healthcare 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 company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, Prestige Consumer Healthcare recorded free cash flow worth 70% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Our View

On our analysis Prestige Consumer Healthcare's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow should signal that it won't have too much trouble with its debt. However, our other observations weren't so heartening. For example, its net debt to EBITDA makes us a little nervous about its debt. Looking at all this data makes us feel a little cautious about Prestige Consumer Healthcare's debt levels. While debt does have its upside in higher potential returns, we think shareholders should definitely consider how debt levels might make the stock more risky. 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 1 warning sign for Prestige Consumer Healthcare 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.

What are the risks and opportunities for Prestige Consumer Healthcare?

Prestige Consumer Healthcare Inc., together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells over-the-counter (OTC) health and personal care products in the United States and internationally.

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Rewards

  • Trading at 42.5% below our estimate of its fair value

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 5.13% per year

  • Earnings grew by 11.4% over the past year

Risks

  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow

  • Significant insider selling over the past 3 months

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Prestige Consumer Healthcare

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