Does Duckhorn Portfolio (NYSE:NAPA) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that ‘Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.’ So it might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. We can see that The Duckhorn Portfolio, Inc. (NYSE:NAPA) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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 Duckhorn Portfolio

How Much Debt Does Duckhorn Portfolio Carry?

As you can see below, at the end of October 2023, Duckhorn Portfolio had US$240.9m of debt, up from US$206.2m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. On the flip side, it has US$21.2m in cash leading to net debt of about US$219.7m.

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NYSE:NAPA Debt to Equity History February 16th 2024

How Strong Is Duckhorn Portfolio’s Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Duckhorn Portfolio had liabilities of US$157.5m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$337.0m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of US$21.2m and US$71.3m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$402.0m.

This deficit isn’t so bad because Duckhorn Portfolio is worth US$1.04b, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Duckhorn Portfolio’s net debt is sitting at a very reasonable 1.7 times its EBITDA, while its EBIT covered its interest expense just 6.6 times last year. While these numbers do not alarm us, it’s worth noting that the cost of the company’s debt is having a real impact. Also good is that Duckhorn Portfolio grew its EBIT at 19% over the last year, further increasing its ability to manage debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Duckhorn Portfolio’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 business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don’t cut it. So it’s worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. In the last three years, Duckhorn Portfolio’s free cash flow amounted to 31% of its EBIT, less than we’d expect. That’s not great, when it comes to paying down debt.

Our View

When it comes to the balance sheet, the standout positive for Duckhorn Portfolio was the fact that it seems able to grow its EBIT confidently. However, our other observations weren’t so heartening. For example, its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow makes us a little nervous about its debt. Looking at all this data makes us feel a little cautious about Duckhorn Portfolio’s debt levels. While debt does have its upside in higher potential returns, we think shareholders should definitely consider how debt levels might make the stock more risky. 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. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Duckhorn Portfolio 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.

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

Find out whether Duckhorn Portfolio 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.

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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.

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