We Think CCR (BVMF:CCRO3) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt
Howard Marks put it nicely when he said that, rather than worrying about share price volatility, 'The possibility of permanent loss is the risk I worry about... and every practical investor I know worries about.' 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 CCR S.A. (BVMF:CCRO3) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
What Risk Does Debt Bring?
Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
See our latest analysis for CCR
What Is CCR's Net Debt?
As you can see below, at the end of September 2022, CCR had R$30.0b of debt, up from R$24.9b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of R$8.66b, its net debt is less, at about R$21.3b.
How Healthy Is CCR's Balance Sheet?
According to the last reported balance sheet, CCR had liabilities of R$8.75b due within 12 months, and liabilities of R$28.8b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of R$8.66b as well as receivables valued at R$3.84b due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by R$25.1b.
When you consider that this deficiency exceeds the company's R$23.7b market capitalization, you might well be inclined to review the balance sheet intently. Hypothetically, extremely heavy dilution would be required if the company were forced to pay down its liabilities by raising capital at the current share price.
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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.
CCR's net debt is sitting at a very reasonable 1.8 times its EBITDA, while its EBIT covered its interest expense just 4.7 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. Pleasingly, CCR is growing its EBIT faster than former Australian PM Bob Hawke downs a yard glass, boasting a 160% gain 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 CCR can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, CCR reported free cash flow worth 9.8% of its EBIT, which is really quite low. That limp level of cash conversion undermines its ability to manage and pay down debt.
Neither CCR's ability to handle its total liabilities nor its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow gave us confidence in its ability to take on more debt. But its EBIT growth rate tells a very different story, and suggests some resilience. It's also worth noting that CCR is in the Infrastructure industry, which is often considered to be quite defensive. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that CCR is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. Not all risk is bad, as it can boost share price returns if it pays off, but this debt risk is worth keeping in mind. 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 3 warning signs for CCR (1 doesn't sit too well with us) you should be aware of.
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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
CCR S.A. operates as an infrastructure concession company worldwide.
Solid track record and good value.