December 2, 2021

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Does Rieter Holding (VTX:RIEN) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, ‘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. As with many other companies Rieter Holding AG (VTX:RIEN) makes use of debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of ‘creative destruction’ where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. However, a more frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. 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 step when considering a company’s debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Rieter Holding

What Is Rieter Holding’s Debt?

As you can see below, Rieter Holding had CHF181.2m of debt at June 2021, down from CHF212.1m a year prior. However, it does have CHF280.0m in cash offsetting this, leading to net cash of CHF98.8m.

SWX:RIEN Debt to Equity History October 7th 2021

How Strong Is Rieter Holding’s Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Rieter Holding had liabilities of CHF513.0m due within a year, and liabilities of CHF179.6m falling due after that. Offsetting this, it had CHF280.0m in cash and CHF155.6m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by CHF257.0m.

This deficit isn’t so bad because Rieter Holding is worth CHF862.9m, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But it’s clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution. While it does have liabilities worth noting, Rieter Holding also has more cash than debt, so we’re pretty confident it can manage its debt safely. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Rieter Holding 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.

Over 12 months, Rieter Holding reported revenue of CHF719m, which is a gain of 20%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. Shareholders probably have their fingers crossed that it can grow its way to profits.

So How Risky Is Rieter Holding?

While Rieter Holding lost money on an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) level, it actually generated positive free cash flow CHF72m. So although it is loss-making, it doesn’t seem to have too much near-term balance sheet risk, keeping in mind the net cash. One positive is that Rieter Holding is growing revenue apace, which makes it easier to sell a growth story and raise capital if need be. But that doesn’t change our opinion that the stock is risky. 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. For example – Rieter Holding 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.

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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