Sanlorenzo (BIT:SL) appears to be using debt sparingly

Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger-backed outside fund manager Li Lu is quick to say, “The biggest risk in investing isn’t price volatility, but whether you’re going to suffer a permanent loss of capital “. It’s natural to consider a company’s balance sheet when looking at its riskiness, as debt is often involved when a company fails. We note that Sanlorenzo Spa (BIT:SL) has debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders worry about its use of debt?

When is debt dangerous?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily meet those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. Ultimately, if the company cannot meet its legal debt repayment obligations, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity at a low price, thereby permanently diluting shareholders. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, especially capital-intensive businesses. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business has is to look at its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Sanlorenzo

What is Sanlorenzo’s debt?

You can click on the chart below for historical figures, but it shows Sanlorenzo had €100.9m in debt in September 2021, up from €106.6m a year earlier. However, he has €139.1m in cash which offsets this, leading to a net cash of €38.3m.

BIT:SL Debt to Equity March 5, 2022

How strong is Sanlorenzo’s balance sheet?

According to the last published balance sheet, Sanlorenzo had liabilities of €265.5 million maturing within 12 months and liabilities of €76.3 million maturing beyond 12 months. In return for these obligations, it had cash of €139.1 million as well as receivables worth €125.6 million at less than 12 months. Thus, its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (short-term) receivables by €77.1 million.

Given that Sanlorenzo has a market capitalization of €1.11 billion, it’s hard to believe that these liabilities pose a big threat. But there are enough liabilities that we certainly recommend that shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet in the future. Despite its notable liabilities, Sanlorenzo has a net cash position, so it’s fair to say that it’s not heavily leveraged!

On top of that, we are pleased to report that Sanlorenzo increased its EBIT by 76%, reducing the specter of future debt repayments. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when analyzing debt. But ultimately, the company’s future profitability will decide whether Sanlorenzo can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you are focused on the future, you can check out this free report showing analyst earnings forecast.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off its debts; book profits are not enough. Sanlorenzo may have net cash on the balance sheet, but it’s always interesting to see how well the company converts its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) into free cash flow, as this will influence both its need and its ability to manage debt. Over the past three years, Sanlorenzo has recorded a free cash flow of 47% of its EBIT, which is lower than expected. It’s not great when it comes to paying off debt.

Abstract

While it is always a good idea to look at a company’s total liabilities, it is very reassuring that Sanlorenzo has 38.3 million euros in net cash. And we liked the look of EBIT growth of 76% YoY last year. So is Sanlorenzo’s debt a risk? This does not seem to us to be the case. There is no doubt that we learn the most about debt from the balance sheet. However, not all investment risks reside on the balance sheet, far from it. Example: we have identified 2 warning signs for Sanlorenzo you should be aware.

If, after all that, you’re more interested in a fast-growing company with a strong balance sheet, check out our list of cash-neutral growth stocks right away.

This Simply Wall St article is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It is not a recommendation to buy or sell stocks and does not take into account your objectives or financial situation. Our goal is to bring you targeted long-term analysis based on fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not take into account the latest announcements from price-sensitive companies or qualitative materials. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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