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These 4 Measures Indicate That Tempur Sealy International (NYSE:TPX) Is Using Debt Extensively

Simply Wall St ·  11/17/2023 22:47

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. As with many other companies Tempur Sealy International, Inc. (NYSE:TPX) makes use of debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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 Tempur Sealy International

What Is Tempur Sealy International's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Tempur Sealy International had debt of US$2.54b at the end of September 2023, a reduction from US$2.72b over a year. However, it does have US$91.6m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$2.44b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:TPX Debt to Equity History November 17th 2023

A Look At Tempur Sealy International's Liabilities

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Tempur Sealy International had liabilities of US$1.06b falling due within a year, and liabilities of US$3.26b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had US$91.6m in cash and US$525.8m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$3.71b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Tempur Sealy International has a market capitalization of US$6.76b, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

We use two main ratios to inform us about debt levels relative to earnings. The first is net debt divided by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), while the second is how many times its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) covers its interest expense (or its interest cover, for short). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Tempur Sealy International's debt is 3.2 times its EBITDA, and its EBIT cover its interest expense 4.8 times over. This suggests that while the debt levels are significant, we'd stop short of calling them problematic. The bad news is that Tempur Sealy International saw its EBIT decline by 18% over the last year. If that sort of decline is not arrested, then the managing its debt will be harder than selling broccoli flavoured ice-cream for a premium. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Tempur Sealy International's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

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. During the last three years, Tempur Sealy International produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 50% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

Mulling over Tempur Sealy International's attempt at (not) growing its EBIT, we're certainly not enthusiastic. But at least its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is not so bad. Looking at the balance sheet and taking into account all these factors, we do believe that debt is making Tempur Sealy International stock a bit risky. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we'd generally feel more comfortable with less leverage. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. Be aware that Tempur Sealy International is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

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.

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