Is Alimera Sciences (NASDAQ:ALIM) A Risky Investment?

Alimera Sciences, Inc. -8.57%

Alimera Sciences, Inc.

ALIM

3.52

-8.57%

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.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. Importantly, Alimera Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALIM) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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 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, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Alimera Sciences

How Much Debt Does Alimera Sciences Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at September 2023 Alimera Sciences had debt of US$64.2m, up from US$43.8m in one year. On the flip side, it has US$8.29m in cash leading to net debt of about US$55.9m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGM:ALIM Debt to Equity History December 30th 2023

A Look At Alimera Sciences' Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Alimera Sciences had liabilities of US$17.7m due within a year, and liabilities of US$87.6m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$8.29m as well as receivables valued at US$33.9m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$63.1m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Alimera Sciences has a market capitalization of US$203.4m, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Alimera Sciences'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.

In the last year Alimera Sciences wasn't profitable at an EBIT level, but managed to grow its revenue by 27%, to US$68m. Shareholders probably have their fingers crossed that it can grow its way to profits.

Caveat Emptor

While we can certainly appreciate Alimera Sciences's revenue growth, its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss is not ideal. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at US$4.8m. Considering that alongside the liabilities mentioned above does not give us much confidence that company should be using so much debt. So we think its balance sheet is a little strained, though not beyond repair. However, it doesn't help that it burned through US$94m of cash over the last year. So in short it's a really risky stock. 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 example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Alimera Sciences that you should be aware of before investing here.

At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.

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