October 4, 2022

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.' 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. Importantly, New Wave Group AB (publ) (STO:NEWA B) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own cash flow. 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. 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.
Check out our latest analysis for New Wave Group
As you can see below, New Wave Group had kr1.66b of debt, at June 2022, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, it does have kr305.5m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about kr1.36b.
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that New Wave Group had liabilities of kr1.88b due within 12 months and liabilities of kr1.62b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had kr305.5m in cash and kr1.46b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling kr1.73b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.
Of course, New Wave Group has a market capitalization of kr10.4b, 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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.
New Wave Group's net debt is only 1.0 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 30.7 times over. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. On top of that, New Wave Group grew its EBIT by 65% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine New Wave Group'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, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the last three years, New Wave Group recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 98% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we'd usually expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.
Happily, New Wave Group's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. Considering this range of factors, it seems to us that New Wave Group is quite prudent with its debt, and the risks seem well managed. So the balance sheet looks pretty healthy, to us. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet – far from it. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for New Wave Group that you should be aware of.
When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.
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 New Wave Group 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.
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New Wave Group AB (publ) designs, acquires, and develops brands and products in the corporate, sports, gifts, and home furnishings sectors in Sweden, the United States, Central Europe, rest of Nordiac countries, Southern 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 with solid track record and pays a dividend.
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.
New Wave Group AB (publ) designs, acquires, and develops brands and products in the corporate, sports, gifts, and home furnishings sectors in Sweden, the United States, Central Europe, rest of Nordiac countries, Southern 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 with solid track record and pays a dividend.
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.

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