Debt-Adjusted Cash Flow DACF: What it is, How it Works

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    Debt management is important for companies because if managed properly they should have access to additional funding if needed. For many companies, taking on new debt financing is vital to their long-growth strategy since the proceeds might be used to fund an expansion project, or to repay or refinance older or more expensive debt. With understated 3-year FCF and total debt, Monolithic Power Systems FCF to Debt ratio has the largest difference between Traditional and Adjusted of all companies in the S&P 500. Per Figure 11, Monolithic Power Systems’ FCF to Debt has been largely understated since 2017. To demonstrate the difference my firm’s proprietary Adjusted Fundamental data makes, I am writing a series of reports that compare my firm’s Credit Ratings to legacy firms’ ratings.

    Rowe Price’s Traditional and Adjusted FCF to Debt ratio is driven by the difference between its Traditional 3-Year Average FCF and Adjusted 3-Year Average FCF, which is illustrated in Figure 13. Figure 9 reconciles Monolithic Power Systems’ Traditional 3-Year Average FCF and Adjusted 3-Year Average FCF and details each of the differences listed above. This Appendix will show exactly how the Adjusted values for FCF and debt differ from the Traditional versions for two companies Monolithic Power Systems and T. For example, 48 out of 123 (39%) companies that earn a Very Attractive FCF to Debt rating based on the Traditional ratio earn a different rating based on the Adjusted ratio. Once you have viewed this piece of content, to ensure you can access the content most relevant to you, please confirm your territory.

    What Is Debt-Adjusted Cash Flow (DACF)?

    Free cash flow indicates the amount of cash generated each year that is free and clear of all internal or external obligations. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, many solar companies were dealing with this exact kind of credit problem. Sales and income could be inflated by offering more generous terms to clients. However, because this issue was widely known in the industry, suppliers were less willing to extend terms and wanted to be paid by solar companies faster. Alternatively, perhaps a company’s suppliers are not willing to extend credit as generously and now require faster payment.

    • FCFE is good because it is easy to calculate and includes a true picture of cash flow after accounting for capital investments to sustain the business.
    • Rowe Price’s Traditional FCF to Debt ratio has been overstated since 2016.
    • To retrieve a company’s beta, we can look up the company on financial resource sites such as Bloomberg Terminal or CapIQ.
    • But this thesis doesn’t seem feasible when taking its relatively low FCF yield into account.
    • The capital structures of oil and gas firms can be dramatically different.

    Another way of thinking about the cash flow to debt ratio is that it shows how much of a business’ debt could be paid off in one year if all cash flows were devoted to debt repayment. However, practically speaking, it’s unrealistic to envision a business dedicating 100% of its operational cash to debt repayment. Imagine a company has earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $1,000,000 in a given year.

    Key Differences

    Only our “novel database” enables investors to overcome those flaws and apply reliable fundamental data in their research. [10] Fixed assets include Net Property, Plant, and Equipment, Goodwill, net, Net Other Intangibles, Unconsolidated Subsidiary Assets, and Other Fixed Assets. [1] I calculate the S&P 500 Traditional and Adjusted 3-Year Average FCF by aggregating the results for all current members of the S&P 500. T. Rowe Price’s Traditional FCF to Debt ratio rose from 10.5 in 2020 to 11.1 TTM, while its Adjusted FCF to Debt ratio fell from 9.9 to 9.6 over the same time. Rowe Price’s Traditional FCF to Debt ratio has been overstated since 2016. Rowe Price’s Traditional 3-Year Average FCF and Adjusted 3-Year Average FCF and details each of the differences listed above.

    Net Debt and Total Debt

    If a company employs debt, its cash flow may be boosted while its share price is unaffected, resulting in a lower P/CF ratio and making the company look relatively cheap. FCF gets its name from the fact that it’s the amount of cash flow “free” (available) for discretionary spending by management/shareholders. For example, even though a company has operating cash flow of $50 million, it still has to invest $10million every year in maintaining its capital assets. For this reason, unless managers/investors want the business to shrink, there is only $40 million of FCF available. Looking at FCF is also helpful for potential shareholders or lenders who want to evaluate how likely it is that the company will be able to pay its expected dividends or interest.

    This first report compares the “Adjusted” Free Cash Flow (FCF) to Debt ratio to the “Traditional” ratio based on unscrubbed financial data. However, this is not recommended, since EBITDA takes into account new inventory purchases that may take a long time to be sold and generate cash flow. However, the free cash flow amount is one of the most accurate ways to gauge a company’s financial condition. Comparing the four companies listed below indicates that Cisco was positioned to perform well with the highest free cash flow yield, based on enterprise value. Lastly, Fluor had relatively a low P/E ratio that could be indicative of a value buy. But this thesis doesn’t seem feasible when taking its relatively low FCF yield into account.

    Debt-Adjusted Cash Flow – DACF

    Companies will typically break down whether the debt is short-term or long-term. Controversy surrounding these providers’ conflicts of interest during the Financial Crisis is well documented, yet conflicts of interest persist because these firms get paid so much by the companies they rate. For example, if a company’s ratio is 20%, then it could, theoretically, pay off all its outstanding debt in five years. EBITDA is good because it’s easy to calculate and heavily quoted so most people in finance know what you mean when you say EBITDA.

    A high cash flow to debt ratio indicates that the business is in a strong financial position and is able to accelerate its debt repayments if necessary. Conversely, a low ratio means the business may be at a greater risk of not making its interest payments, and is on a comparably weaker financial footing. The cash flow to debt ratio is expressed as a percentage, but can also be expressed in years by dividing 1 by the ratio.

    [2] In this analysis, I use the 494 companies for which I have data back to 2016 and are currently in the S&P 500. Figure 10 compares Monolithic Power Systems’ Traditional Debt and Adjusted Debt since 2016. The primary driver of Monolithic Power Systems’ understated FCF to Debt ratio is understated 3-year average FCF. Figure 8 shows the firm’s Traditional and Adjusted 3-Year Average FCF have diverged since 2016.


    Marry Rose

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