Stock Analysis

Here's Why GBLT (CVE:GBLT) Has A Meaningful Debt Burden

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TSXV:GBLT
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Warren Buffett famously said, '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. We can see that GBLT Corp. (CVE:GBLT) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. 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.

Our analysis indicates that GBLT is potentially overvalued!

What Is GBLT's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2022 GBLT had €3.35m of debt, an increase on €1.67m, over one year. On the flip side, it has €580.3k in cash leading to net debt of about €2.77m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TSXV:GBLT Debt to Equity History December 1st 2022

How Healthy Is GBLT's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that GBLT had liabilities of €13.3m falling due within a year, and liabilities of €197.7k due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €580.3k as well as receivables valued at €6.65m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by €6.31m.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of €8.94m, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on GBLT's use of debt. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.

We use two main ratios to inform us about debt levels relative to earnings. The first is net debt divided by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), while the second is how many times its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) covers its interest expense (or its interest cover, for short). 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).

Weak interest cover of 1.5 times and a disturbingly high net debt to EBITDA ratio of 6.1 hit our confidence in GBLT like a one-two punch to the gut. This means we'd consider it to have a heavy debt load. However, it should be some comfort for shareholders to recall that GBLT actually grew its EBIT by a hefty 206%, over the last 12 months. If that earnings trend continues it will make its debt load much more manageable in the future. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is GBLT's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So if you're keen to discover more about its earnings, it might be worth checking out this graph of its long term earnings trend.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, GBLT saw substantial negative free cash flow, in total. While that may be a result of expenditure for growth, it does make the debt far more risky.

Our View

To be frank both GBLT's net debt to EBITDA and its track record of converting EBIT to free cash flow make us rather uncomfortable with its debt levels. But at least it's pretty decent at growing its EBIT; that's encouraging. Overall, we think it's fair to say that GBLT has enough debt that there are some real risks around the balance sheet. If everything goes well that may pay off but the downside of this debt is a greater risk of permanent losses. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example GBLT has 4 warning signs (and 3 which are significant) we think you should know about.

Of course, if you're the type of investor who prefers buying stocks without the burden of debt, then don't hesitate to discover our exclusive list of net cash growth stocks, today.

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