Verint Systems (NASDAQ:VRNT) Could Easily Take On More Debt

Verint Systems Inc. -2.75% Pre

Verint Systems Inc.

VRNT

30.09

30.09

-2.75%

0.00% Pre

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' So it might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. As with many other companies Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNT) makes use of debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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 usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth 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 Verint Systems

What Is Verint Systems's Net Debt?

As you can see below, Verint Systems had US$410.5m of debt, at October 2023, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, it also had US$210.3m in cash, and so its net debt is US$200.1m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:VRNT Debt to Equity History January 30th 2024

How Healthy Is Verint Systems' Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Verint Systems had liabilities of US$370.1m due within a year, and liabilities of US$522.8m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$210.3m as well as receivables valued at US$228.6m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$454.0m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This deficit isn't so bad because Verint Systems is worth US$1.90b, 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.

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). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).

Verint Systems has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 1.5. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 24.1 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. Also positive, Verint Systems grew its EBIT by 28% in the last year, and that should make it easier to pay down debt, going forward. 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 Verint Systems's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. 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 business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Verint Systems actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

Happily, Verint Systems's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. Looking at the bigger picture, we think Verint Systems's use of debt seems quite reasonable and we're not concerned about it. While debt does bring risk, when used wisely it can also bring a higher return on equity. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. 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 2 warning signs for Verint Systems 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.

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