Stock Analysis

We Think EVO Payments (NASDAQ:EVOP) Can Stay On Top Of Its Debt

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NasdaqGM:EVOP
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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 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 can see that EVO Payments, Inc. (NASDAQ:EVOP) does use debt in its business. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

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What Is EVO Payments's Debt?

As you can see below, EVO Payments had US$593.3m of debt at March 2021, down from US$731.1m a year prior. However, it also had US$401.0m in cash, and so its net debt is US$192.3m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGM:EVOP Debt to Equity History June 14th 2021

How Healthy Is EVO Payments' Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, EVO Payments had liabilities of US$584.4m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$807.7m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$401.0m as well as receivables valued at US$29.9m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$961.2m.

This deficit isn't so bad because EVO Payments is worth US$2.46b, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

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.

Even though EVO Payments's debt is only 1.6, its interest cover is really very low at 1.2. In large part that's it has so much depreciation and amortisation. These charges may be non-cash, so they could be excluded when it comes to paying down debt. But the accounting charges are there for a reason -- some assets are seen to be losing value. Either way there's no doubt the stock is using meaningful leverage. We note that EVO Payments grew its EBIT by 24% in the last year, and that should make it easier to pay down debt, going forward. 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 EVO Payments'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 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. Happily for any shareholders, EVO Payments actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last two years. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

The good news is that EVO Payments's demonstrated ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But we must concede we find its interest cover has the opposite effect. All these things considered, it appears that EVO Payments can comfortably handle its current debt levels. On the plus side, this leverage can boost shareholder returns, but the potential downside is more risk of loss, so it's worth monitoring the balance sheet. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for EVO Payments that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course, if you're the type of investor who prefers buying stocks without the burden of debt, then don't hesitate to discover our exclusive list of net cash growth stocks, today.

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What are the risks and opportunities for EVO Payments?

EVO Payments, Inc. operates as an integrated merchant acquirer and payment processor in the Americas and Europe.

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Rewards

  • Trading at 31.8% below our estimate of its fair value

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 59.97% per year

  • Became profitable this year

Risks

  • Has a high level of debt

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