Is Nicola Mining (CVE:NIM) A Risky Investment?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 24, 2021
TSXV:NIM
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.' 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. As with many other companies Nicola Mining Inc. (CVE:NIM) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

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. 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. Of course, the upside of debt is that it often represents cheap capital, especially when it replaces dilution in a company with the ability to reinvest at high rates of return. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Nicola Mining

What Is Nicola Mining's Net Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of June 2021, Nicola Mining had CA$7.32m of debt, up from CA$6.54m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of CA$1.38m, its net debt is less, at about CA$5.93m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TSXV:NIM Debt to Equity History November 24th 2021

A Look At Nicola Mining's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Nicola Mining had liabilities of CA$951.0k due within 12 months and liabilities of CA$10.9m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had CA$1.38m in cash and CA$125.3k in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total CA$10.3m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This deficit isn't so bad because Nicola Mining is worth CA$27.7m, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is Nicola Mining'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.

Since Nicola Mining has no significant operating revenue, shareholders probably hope it will develop a valuable new mine before too long.

Caveat Emptor

Over the last twelve months Nicola Mining produced an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss. Indeed, it lost a very considerable CA$3.4m at the EBIT level. When we look at that and recall the liabilities on its balance sheet, relative to cash, it seems unwise to us for the company to have any debt. Quite frankly we think the balance sheet is far from match-fit, although it could be improved with time. Another cause for caution is that is bled CA$2.6m in negative free cash flow over the last twelve months. So suffice it to say we consider the stock very risky. 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. For instance, we've identified 5 warning signs for Nicola Mining (2 are a bit concerning) you should be aware of.

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

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.

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Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.