Is Lupatech (BVMF:LUPA3) Weighed On By Its Debt Load?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 10, 2022
BOVESPA:LUPA3
Source: Shutterstock

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.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. We can see that Lupatech S.A. (BVMF:LUPA3) 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 common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. 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. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

View our latest analysis for Lupatech

What Is Lupatech's Debt?

As you can see below, Lupatech had R$128.8m of debt, at December 2021, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of R$25.8m, its net debt is less, at about R$103.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BOVESPA:LUPA3 Debt to Equity History May 10th 2022

How Healthy Is Lupatech's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Lupatech had liabilities of R$85.3m due within a year, and liabilities of R$272.7m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of R$25.8m as well as receivables valued at R$112.3m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by R$219.9m.

This deficit casts a shadow over the R$113.6m company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. After all, Lupatech would likely require a major re-capitalisation if it had to pay its creditors today. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is Lupatech's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.

Over 12 months, Lupatech reported revenue of R$94m, which is a gain of 71%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. With any luck the company will be able to grow its way to profitability.

Caveat Emptor

While we can certainly appreciate Lupatech's revenue growth, its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss is not ideal. Its EBIT loss was a whopping R$35m. When we look at that alongside the significant liabilities, we're not particularly confident about the company. It would need to improve its operations quickly for us to be interested in it. Not least because it burned through R$41m in negative free cash flow over the last year. So suffice it to say we consider the stock to be risky. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For instance, we've identified 5 warning signs for Lupatech (2 are a bit unpleasant) you should be aware of.

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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