We Think Array Technologies (NASDAQ:ARRY) Can Stay On Top Of Its Debt

Array Technologies +3.45%

Array Technologies

ARRY

11.11

+3.45%

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a 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 note that Array Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARRY) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. However, a more frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. 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 Array Technologies

How Much Debt Does Array Technologies Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Array Technologies had debt of US$697.6m at the end of September 2023, a reduction from US$772.8m over a year. On the flip side, it has US$174.0m in cash leading to net debt of about US$523.6m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGM:ARRY Debt to Equity History January 30th 2024

How Healthy Is Array Technologies' Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Array Technologies had liabilities of US$400.5m due within 12 months and liabilities of US$761.9m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had US$174.0m in cash and US$428.0m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$560.3m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Array Technologies has a market capitalization of US$1.97b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate 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).

Array Technologies's net debt is sitting at a very reasonable 1.9 times its EBITDA, while its EBIT covered its interest expense just 5.1 times last year. While these numbers do not alarm us, it's worth noting that the cost of the company's debt is having a real impact. Notably, Array Technologies made a loss at the EBIT level, last year, but improved that to positive EBIT of US$210m in the last twelve months. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Array Technologies 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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is backed by free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Array Technologies actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last year. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.

Our View

Array Technologies's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. And we also thought its net debt to EBITDA was a positive. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Array Technologies can handle its debt fairly comfortably. On the plus side, this leverage can boost shareholder returns, but the potential downside is more risk of loss, so it's worth monitoring the balance sheet. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Array Technologies that 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.

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