Stock Analysis

Is Tornado Global Hydrovacs (CVE:TGH) Using Too Much Debt?

TSXV:TGH
Source: Shutterstock

The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. Importantly, Tornado Global Hydrovacs Ltd. (CVE:TGH) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Tornado Global Hydrovacs

How Much Debt Does Tornado Global Hydrovacs Carry?

The chart below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Tornado Global Hydrovacs had CA$5.98m in debt in March 2021; about the same as the year before. However, it also had CA$2.29m in cash, and so its net debt is CA$3.69m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TSXV:TGH Debt to Equity History June 8th 2021

A Look At Tornado Global Hydrovacs' Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Tornado Global Hydrovacs had liabilities of CA$11.7m due within 12 months, and liabilities of CA$1.31m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had CA$2.29m in cash and CA$4.18m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by CA$6.58m.

Since publicly traded Tornado Global Hydrovacs shares are worth a total of CA$62.1m, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time.

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).

Even though Tornado Global Hydrovacs's debt is only 2.1, its interest cover is really very low at 0.05. In large part that's it has so much depreciation and amortisation. While companies often boast that these charges are non-cash, most such businesses will therefore require ongoing investment (that is not expensed.) Either way there's no doubt the stock is using meaningful leverage. Shareholders should be aware that Tornado Global Hydrovacs's EBIT was down 99% last year. If that earnings trend continues then paying off its debt will be about as easy as herding cats on to a roller coaster. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is Tornado Global Hydrovacs'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.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Looking at the most recent two years, Tornado Global Hydrovacs recorded free cash flow of 25% of its EBIT, which is weaker than we'd expect. That's not great, when it comes to paying down debt.

Our View

On the face of it, Tornado Global Hydrovacs's interest cover left us tentative about the stock, and its EBIT growth rate was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But at least it's pretty decent at staying on top of its total liabilities; that's encouraging. Once we consider all the factors above, together, it seems to us that Tornado Global Hydrovacs's debt is making it a bit risky. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we'd generally feel more comfortable with less leverage. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Tornado Global Hydrovacs 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.

If you’re looking to trade a wide range of investments, open an account with the lowest-cost* platform trusted by professionals, Interactive Brokers. Their clients from over 200 countries and territories trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted


Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Tornado Global Hydrovacs is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020


Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.