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Is Owens & Minor (NYSE:OMI) A Risky Investment?

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the 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, Owens & Minor, Inc. (NYSE:OMI) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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.

See our latest analysis for Owens & Minor

What Is Owens & Minor's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of March 2022 Owens & Minor had US$2.63b of debt, an increase on US$968.9m, over one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of US$211.3m, its net debt is less, at about US$2.42b.

NYSE:OMI Debt to Equity History June 14th 2022

A Look At Owens & Minor's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Owens & Minor had liabilities of US$1.65b due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$3.11b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$211.3m as well as receivables valued at US$775.8m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$3.77b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the US$2.38b company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. After all, Owens & Minor would likely require a major re-capitalisation if it had to pay its creditors today.

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.

Owens & Minor's net debt to EBITDA ratio is 5.7 which suggests rather high debt levels, but its interest cover of 7.5 times suggests the debt is easily serviced. Overall we'd say it seems likely the company is carrying a fairly heavy swag of debt. Unfortunately, Owens & Minor saw its EBIT slide 7.3% in the last twelve months. If that earnings trend continues then its debt load will grow heavy like the heart of a polar bear watching its sole cub. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Owens & Minor can strengthen its balance sheet over time. 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 always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow . Over the most recent three years, Owens & Minor recorded free cash flow worth 75% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Our View

On the face of it, Owens & Minor's net debt to EBITDA left us tentative about the stock, and its level of total liabilities was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But at least it's pretty decent at converting EBIT to free cash flow; that's encouraging. It's also worth noting that Owens & Minor is in the Healthcare industry, which is often considered to be quite defensive. Looking at the bigger picture, it seems clear to us that Owens & Minor's use of debt is creating risks for the company. If everything goes well that may pay off but the downside of this debt is a greater risk of permanent losses. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Owens & Minor (1 shouldn't be ignored) you should be aware of.

If you're interested in investing in businesses that can grow profits without the burden of debt, then check out this free list of growing businesses that have net cash on the balance sheet.

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.

This presentation is for informational and educational use only and is not a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy. Investment information provided in this content is general in nature, strictly for illustrative purposes, and may not be appropriate for all investors. It is provided without respect to individual investors’ financial sophistication, financial situation, investment objectives, investing time horizon, or risk tolerance. You should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your relevant personal circumstances before making any investment decisions. Past investment performance does not indicate or guarantee future success. Returns will vary, and all investments carry risks, including loss of principal.


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