Stock Analysis

Does Echeverría Izquierdo (SNSE:EISA) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

SNSE:EISA
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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.' 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. We note that Echeverría Izquierdo S.A. (SNSE:EISA) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Echeverría Izquierdo

How Much Debt Does Echeverría Izquierdo Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at September 2020 Echeverría Izquierdo had debt of CL$123.2b, up from CL$89.8b in one year. However, it also had CL$39.5b in cash, and so its net debt is CL$83.7b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
SNSE:EISA Debt to Equity History February 5th 2021

How Healthy Is Echeverría Izquierdo's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Echeverría Izquierdo had liabilities of CL$185.2b due within a year, and liabilities of CL$86.7b falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of CL$39.5b and CL$40.3b worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by CL$192.0b.

This deficit casts a shadow over the CL$117.0b company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. At the end of the day, Echeverría Izquierdo would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment.

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.

Echeverría Izquierdo has a rather high debt to EBITDA ratio of 5.8 which suggests a meaningful debt load. However, its interest coverage of 3.0 is reasonably strong, which is a good sign. Even worse, Echeverría Izquierdo saw its EBIT tank 68% over the last 12 months. If earnings continue to follow that trajectory, paying off that debt load will be harder than convincing us to run a marathon in the rain. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Echeverría Izquierdo will need earnings to service that debt. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Echeverría Izquierdo recorded negative free cash flow, in total. Debt is usually more expensive, and almost always more risky in the hands of a company with negative free cash flow. Shareholders ought to hope for an improvement.

Our View

On the face of it, Echeverría Izquierdo's EBIT growth rate left us tentative about the stock, and its level of total liabilities was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. And even its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow fails to inspire much confidence. We think the chances that Echeverría Izquierdo has too much debt a very significant. To us, that makes the stock rather risky, like walking through a dog park with your eyes closed. But some investors may feel differently. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for Echeverría Izquierdo you should be aware of, and 1 of them can't be ignored.

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. 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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