Stock Analysis

Does Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

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NasdaqGS:ADI
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The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a 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 Analog Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADI) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Analog Devices

What Is Analog Devices's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of July 2023 Analog Devices had US$7.03b of debt, an increase on US$6.25b, over one year. On the flip side, it has US$1.15b in cash leading to net debt of about US$5.88b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:ADI Debt to Equity History November 11th 2023

How Strong Is Analog Devices' Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Analog Devices had liabilities of US$2.83b due within a year, and liabilities of US$10.6b falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$1.15b as well as receivables valued at US$1.62b due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$10.7b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Since publicly traded Analog Devices shares are worth a very impressive total of US$83.3b, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time.

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

Analog Devices's net debt is only 0.88 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 21.4 times the size. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. On top of that, Analog Devices grew its EBIT by 36% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its debt. 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 Analog Devices'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.

Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the last three years, Analog Devices actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.

Our View

Analog Devices's interest cover 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 conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. Considering this range of factors, it seems to us that Analog Devices is quite prudent with its debt, and the risks seem well managed. So we're not worried about the use of a little leverage on the balance sheet. 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. Be aware that Analog Devices is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Analog Devices is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.