November 26, 2022

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.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt – which is usually involved in bankruptcies – is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. We can see that Aspocomp Group Oyj (HEL:ACG1V) does use debt in its business. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.
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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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 thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.
See our latest analysis for Aspocomp Group Oyj
The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Aspocomp Group Oyj had debt of €3.78m at the end of June 2022, a reduction from €4.99m over a year. On the flip side, it has €1.48m in cash leading to net debt of about €2.29m.
According to the last reported balance sheet, Aspocomp Group Oyj had liabilities of €7.16m due within 12 months, and liabilities of €2.90m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €1.48m as well as receivables valued at €8.58m due within 12 months. So its total liabilities are just about perfectly matched by its shorter-term, liquid assets.
This state of affairs indicates that Aspocomp Group Oyj's balance sheet looks quite solid, as its total liabilities are just about equal to its liquid assets. So while it's hard to imagine that the €45.4m company is struggling for cash, we still think it's worth monitoring its balance sheet.
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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.
Aspocomp Group Oyj has net debt of just 0.36 times EBITDA, suggesting it could ramp leverage without breaking a sweat. But the really cool thing is that it actually managed to receive more interest than it paid, over the last year. So it's fair to say it can handle debt like a hotshot teppanyaki chef handles cooking. Although Aspocomp Group Oyj made a loss at the EBIT level, last year, it was also good to see that it generated €4.8m in EBIT over the last twelve months. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Aspocomp Group Oyj 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. So it's worth checking how much of the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is backed by free cash flow. In the last year, Aspocomp Group Oyj's free cash flow amounted to 35% of its EBIT, less than we'd expect. That's not great, when it comes to paying down debt.
Happily, Aspocomp Group Oyj's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. But truth be told we feel its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow does undermine this impression a bit. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Aspocomp Group Oyj can handle its debt fairly comfortably. 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. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example – Aspocomp Group Oyj has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
Find out whether Aspocomp Group Oyj is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.
Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.
Aspocomp Group Oyj manufactures and sells printed circuit boards (PCBs) in Finland, Europe, and internationally.
The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.
Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.
Flawless balance sheet and undervalued.
Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.
Aspocomp Group Oyj manufactures and sells printed circuit boards (PCBs) in Finland, Europe, and internationally.
The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.
Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.
Flawless balance sheet and undervalued.
Simply Wall Street Pty Ltd (ACN 600 056 611), is a Corporate Authorised Representative (Authorised Representative Number: 467183) of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 337927). Any advice contained in this website is general advice only and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should not rely on any advice and/or information contained in this website and before making any investment decision we recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your situation and seek appropriate financial, taxation and legal advice. Please read our Financial Services Guide before deciding whether to obtain financial services from us.

source

Leave a Reply