Does Direct Marketing MiX (TSE:7354) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

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.’ 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. Importantly, Direct Marketing MiX Inc. (TSE:7354) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

Check out our latest analysis for Direct Marketing MiX

What Is Direct Marketing MiX’s Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of September 2023, Direct Marketing MiX had JP¥5.95b of debt, up from JP¥5.17b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, it does have JP¥5.06b in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about JP¥891.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TSE:7354 Debt to Equity History March 12th 2024

How Healthy Is Direct Marketing MiX’s Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Direct Marketing MiX had liabilities of JP¥7.48b due within 12 months, and liabilities of JP¥5.70b due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of JP¥5.06b and JP¥3.65b worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by JP¥4.48b.

Direct Marketing MiX has a market capitalization of JP¥14.4b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt.

In order to size up a company’s debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its interest cover). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Direct Marketing MiX has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.20. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 72.5 times over. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. It is just as well that Direct Marketing MiX’s load is not too heavy, because its EBIT was down 46% over the last year. Falling earnings (if the trend continues) could eventually make even modest debt quite risky. There’s no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Direct Marketing MiX 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.

Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last three years, Direct Marketing MiX generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 83% of its EBIT, more than we’d expect. That positions it well to pay down debt if desirable to do so.

Our View

Direct Marketing MiX’s EBIT growth rate was a real negative on this analysis, although the other factors we considered were considerably better. In particular, we are dazzled with its interest cover. Considering this range of data points, we think Direct Marketing MiX is in a good position to manage its debt levels. But a word of caution: we think debt levels are high enough to justify ongoing monitoring. There’s no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Be aware that Direct Marketing MiX is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those doesn’t sit too well with us…

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.

Valuation is complex, but we’re helping make it simple.

Find out whether Direct Marketing MiX 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.

View the Free Analysis

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.

link