Is Cintac (SNSE:CINTAC) A Risky Investment?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 10, 2022
SNSE:CINTAC
Source: Shutterstock

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.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. Importantly, Cintac S.A. (SNSE:CINTAC) does carry debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

See our latest analysis for Cintac

What Is Cintac's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of December 2021 Cintac had US$152.1m of debt, an increase on US$92.3m, over one year. However, it also had US$30.4m in cash, and so its net debt is US$121.7m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
SNSE:CINTAC Debt to Equity History April 10th 2022

A Look At Cintac's Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Cintac had liabilities of US$371.6m due within a year, and liabilities of US$96.2m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$30.4m as well as receivables valued at US$142.1m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$295.2m.

This deficit casts a shadow over the US$156.0m company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. After all, Cintac would likely require a major re-capitalisation if it had to pay its creditors today.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

With net debt sitting at just 1.5 times EBITDA, Cintac is arguably pretty conservatively geared. And this view is supported by the solid interest coverage, with EBIT coming in at 8.5 times the interest expense over the last year. Even more impressive was the fact that Cintac grew its EBIT by 121% over twelve months. That boost will make it even easier to pay down debt going forward. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is Cintac'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 clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Considering the last three years, Cintac actually recorded a cash outflow, overall. 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

We'd go so far as to say Cintac's level of total liabilities was disappointing. But at least it's pretty decent at growing its EBIT; that's encouraging. Once we consider all the factors above, together, it seems to us that Cintac's debt is making it a bit risky. Some people like that sort of risk, but we're mindful of the potential pitfalls, so we'd probably prefer it carry less debt. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Cintac (including 1 which is significant) .

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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