Is BioMarin Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:BMRN) Using Too Much Debt?

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. -1.02%

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.




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.' 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. We can see that BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN) does use debt in its business. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for BioMarin Pharmaceutical

What Is BioMarin Pharmaceutical's Net Debt?

The chart below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that BioMarin Pharmaceutical had US$1.09b in debt in December 2023; about the same as the year before. However, it does have US$1.07b in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$13.2m.

NasdaqGS:BMRN Debt to Equity History March 30th 2024

How Healthy Is BioMarin Pharmaceutical's Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that BioMarin Pharmaceutical had liabilities of US$1.18b due within 12 months and liabilities of US$713.0m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$1.07b as well as receivables valued at US$633.7m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$182.5m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This state of affairs indicates that BioMarin Pharmaceutical's balance sheet looks quite solid, as its total liabilities are just about equal to its liquid assets. So it's very unlikely that the US$16.5b company is short on cash, but still worth keeping an eye on the balance sheet. But either way, BioMarin Pharmaceutical has virtually no net debt, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical has barely any net debt, as demonstrated by its net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.048. Happily, it actually managed to receive more interest than it paid, over the last year. So there's no doubt this company can take on debt as easily as enthusiastic spray-tanners take on an orange hue. Even more impressive was the fact that BioMarin Pharmaceutical grew its EBIT by 150% over twelve months. If maintained that growth will make the debt even more manageable in the years ahead. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine BioMarin Pharmaceutical'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 company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. During the last two years, BioMarin Pharmaceutical 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

The good news is that BioMarin Pharmaceutical's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. It looks BioMarin Pharmaceutical has no trouble standing on its own two feet, and it has no reason to fear its lenders. To our minds it has a healthy happy balance sheet. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for BioMarin Pharmaceutical you should know about.

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.

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