Stock Analysis

We Think EVO Payments (NASDAQ:EVOP) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

  •  Updated
NasdaqGM:EVOP
Source: Shutterstock

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.' 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 EVO Payments, Inc. (NASDAQ:EVOP) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for EVO Payments

What Is EVO Payments's Debt?

As you can see below, EVO Payments had US$597.5m of debt at December 2020, down from US$735.0m a year prior. However, it does have US$418.4m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$179.1m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGM:EVOP Debt to Equity History February 27th 2021

How Healthy Is EVO Payments' Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, EVO Payments had liabilities of US$599.0m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$808.2m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had US$418.4m in cash and US$37.8m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$950.9m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

EVO Payments has a market capitalization of US$2.50b, 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 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.

While EVO Payments has a quite reasonable net debt to EBITDA multiple of 1.7, its interest cover seems weak, at 0.63. In large part that's it has so much depreciation and amortisation. While companies often boast that these charges are non-cash, most such businesses will therefore require ongoing investment (that is not expensed.) Either way there's no doubt the stock is using meaningful leverage. Shareholders should be aware that EVO Payments's EBIT was down 38% last year. If that earnings trend continues then paying off its debt will be about as easy as herding cats on to a roller coaster. 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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. 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. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.

Our View

Neither EVO Payments's ability to grow its EBIT nor its interest cover gave us confidence in its ability to take on more debt. But the good news is it seems to be able to convert EBIT to free cash flow with ease. Taking the abovementioned factors together we do think EVO Payments's debt poses some risks to the business. While that debt can boost returns, we think the company has enough leverage now. 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. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for EVO Payments that 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.

If you’re looking to trade EVO Payments, open an account with the lowest-cost* platform trusted by professionals, Interactive Brokers. Their clients from over 200 countries and territories trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted


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.

View Full Analysis

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

View all Risks and Rewards

Share Price

Market Cap

1Y Return

View Company Report