Is Selected Textiles (ATH:EPIL) A Risky Investment?

April 08, 2021
  •  Updated
August 11, 2022
ATSE:EPIL
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that '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 Selected Textiles S.A. (ATH:EPIL) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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 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 Selected Textiles

What Is Selected Textiles's Net Debt?

The chart below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Selected Textiles had €66.3m in debt in December 2020; about the same as the year before. On the flip side, it has €2.44m in cash leading to net debt of about €63.9m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ATSE:EPIL Debt to Equity History April 9th 2021

A Look At Selected Textiles' Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Selected Textiles had liabilities of €14.6m due within 12 months, and liabilities of €79.6m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of €2.44m and €7.33m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling €84.4m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the €9.83m company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. At the end of the day, Selected Textiles would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Selected Textiles'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.

Over 12 months, Selected Textiles made a loss at the EBIT level, and saw its revenue drop to €23m, which is a fall of 27%. To be frank that doesn't bode well.

Caveat Emptor

While Selected Textiles's falling revenue is about as heartwarming as a wet blanket, arguably its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss is even less appealing. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at €307k. When you combine this with the very significant balance sheet liabilities mentioned above, we are so wary of it that we are basically at a loss for the right words. Like every long-shot we're sure it has a glossy presentation outlining its blue-sky potential. But the reality is that it is low on liquid assets relative to liabilities, and it lost €1.8m in the last year. So we think buying this stock is 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. Be aware that Selected Textiles is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.

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