Stock Analysis

These 4 Measures Indicate That Thunderbird Entertainment Group (CVE:TBRD) Is Using Debt Reasonably Well

TSXV:TBRD
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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. As with many other companies Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (CVE:TBRD) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. Of course, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Thunderbird Entertainment Group

What Is Thunderbird Entertainment Group's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Thunderbird Entertainment Group had debt of CA$42.4m at the end of June 2020, a reduction from CA$50.3m over a year. However, it does have CA$16.1m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about CA$26.4m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TSXV:TBRD Debt to Equity History November 26th 2020

How Strong Is Thunderbird Entertainment Group's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Thunderbird Entertainment Group had liabilities of CA$72.4m falling due within a year, and liabilities of CA$28.2m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of CA$16.1m and CA$56.2m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total CA$28.4m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This deficit isn't so bad because Thunderbird Entertainment Group is worth CA$126.6m, 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.

We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). 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).

While Thunderbird Entertainment Group's low debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.1 suggests only modest use of debt, the fact that EBIT only covered the interest expense by 5.6 times last year does give us pause. But the interest payments are certainly sufficient to have us thinking about how affordable its debt is. Also relevant is that Thunderbird Entertainment Group has grown its EBIT by a very respectable 26% in the last year, thus enhancing its ability to pay down debt. 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 Thunderbird Entertainment Group 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, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. During the last three years, Thunderbird Entertainment Group burned a lot of cash. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.

Our View

Based on what we've seen Thunderbird Entertainment Group is not finding it easy, given its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow, but the other factors we considered give us cause to be optimistic. There's no doubt that its ability to to grow its EBIT is pretty flash. Looking at all this data makes us feel a little cautious about Thunderbird Entertainment Group's debt levels. While debt does have its upside in higher potential returns, we think shareholders should definitely consider how debt levels might make the stock more risky. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Case in point: We've spotted 5 warning signs for Thunderbird Entertainment Group 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.

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