Stock Analysis

Does Teradata (NYSE:TDC) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

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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.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. As with many other companies Teradata Corporation (NYSE:TDC) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. 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 Teradata's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2022 Teradata had US$498.0m of debt, an increase on US$441.0m, over one year. But on the other hand it also has US$506.0m in cash, leading to a US$8.00m net cash position.

NYSE:TDC Debt to Equity History January 26th 2023

How Healthy Is Teradata's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Teradata had liabilities of US$803.0m due within a year, and liabilities of US$780.0m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$506.0m as well as receivables valued at US$262.0m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$815.0m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Teradata has a market capitalization of US$3.46b, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution. Despite its noteworthy liabilities, Teradata boasts net cash, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

The modesty of its debt load may become crucial for Teradata if management cannot prevent a repeat of the 29% cut to EBIT over the last year. When a company sees its earnings tank, it can sometimes find its relationships with its lenders turn sour. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Teradata can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. Teradata may have net cash on the balance sheet, but it is still interesting to look at how well the business converts its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, because that will influence both its need for, and its capacity to manage debt. Happily for any shareholders, Teradata actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Summing Up

Although Teradata's balance sheet isn't particularly strong, due to the total liabilities, it is clearly positive to see that it has net cash of US$8.00m. And it impressed us with free cash flow of US$368m, being 234% of its EBIT. So we don't have any problem with Teradata's use of debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Teradata .

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 Teradata?

Teradata Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides a connected multi-cloud data platform for enterprise analytics.

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  • Trading at 48.6% below our estimate of its fair value

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 45.73% per year


  • Significant insider selling over the past 3 months

  • Profit margins (1.8%) are lower than last year (7.7%)

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