Stock Analysis

We Think Entegris (NASDAQ:ENTG) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

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NasdaqGS:ENTG
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Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' 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, Entegris, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENTG) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. 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. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Entegris

What Is Entegris's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of October 2022 Entegris had US$5.85b of debt, an increase on US$936.7m, over one year. However, it also had US$772.0m in cash, and so its net debt is US$5.08b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:ENTG Debt to Equity History December 6th 2022

A Look At Entegris' Liabilities

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Entegris had liabilities of US$841.0m falling due within a year, and liabilities of US$6.18b due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$772.0m as well as receivables valued at US$519.8m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$5.73b.

Entegris has a very large market capitalization of US$11.2b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt.

We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

With a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 6.5, it's fair to say Entegris does have a significant amount of debt. However, its interest coverage of 4.1 is reasonably strong, which is a good sign. However, one redeeming factor is that Entegris grew its EBIT at 11% over the last 12 months, boosting its ability to handle its debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Entegris's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

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. Looking at the most recent three years, Entegris recorded free cash flow of 42% of its EBIT, which is weaker than we'd expect. That weak cash conversion makes it more difficult to handle indebtedness.

Our View

Entegris's struggle handle its debt, based on its EBITDA, had us second guessing its balance sheet strength, but the other data-points we considered were relatively redeeming. But on the bright side, its ability to to grow its EBIT isn't too shabby at all. Taking the abovementioned factors together we do think Entegris's debt poses some risks to the business. While that debt can boost returns, we think the company has enough leverage now. 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. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Entegris (1 is a bit unpleasant) you should be aware of.

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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