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
CMC Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:CCMP) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?
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 common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.
How Much Debt Does CMC Materials Carry?
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that CMC Materials had US$900.4m of debt in March 2021, down from US$1.12b, one year before. However, it does have US$324.8m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$575.6m.NasdaqGS:CCMP Debt to Equity History June 10th 2021
How Strong Is CMC Materials' Balance Sheet?
The latest balance sheet data shows that CMC Materials had liabilities of US$187.4m due within a year, and liabilities of US$1.08b falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$324.8m as well as receivables valued at US$146.2m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$796.0m.
Of course, CMC Materials has a market capitalization of US$4.49b, so these liabilities are probably manageable. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time.
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). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).
CMC Materials has net debt worth 1.6 times EBITDA, which isn't too much, but its interest cover looks a bit on the low side, with EBIT at only 5.8 times the interest expense. While that doesn't worry us too much, it does suggest the interest payments are somewhat of a burden. Unfortunately, CMC Materials saw its EBIT slide 7.8% in the last twelve months. If earnings continue on that decline then managing that debt will be difficult like delivering hot soup on a unicycle. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine CMC Materials'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 it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, CMC Materials recorded free cash flow worth 71% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.
When it comes to the balance sheet, the standout positive for CMC Materials was the fact that it seems able to convert EBIT to free cash flow confidently. But the other factors we noted above weren't so encouraging. For example, its EBIT growth rate makes us a little nervous about its debt. Considering this range of data points, we think CMC Materials is in a good position to manage its debt levels. Having said that, the load is sufficiently heavy that we would recommend any shareholders keep a close eye on it. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted > 2 warning signs for CMC Materials
> 2 warning signs for CMC Materials(of which 1 is significant!) 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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Source : https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/cmc-materials-nasdaq:ccmp-has-a-pretty-healthy-balance-sheet-2021-06-101054