Minth Group (HKG:425) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 06, 2021
SEHK:425
Source: Shutterstock

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' 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, Minth Group Limited (HKG:425) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. 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. 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 Minth Group

How Much Debt Does Minth Group Carry?

As you can see below, at the end of June 2021, Minth Group had CN¥7.98b of debt, up from CN¥6.20b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. On the flip side, it has CN¥6.80b in cash leading to net debt of about CN¥1.18b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
SEHK:425 Debt to Equity History September 7th 2021

How Healthy Is Minth Group's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Minth Group had liabilities of CN¥8.52b falling due within a year, and liabilities of CN¥3.91b due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of CN¥6.80b and CN¥3.58b worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling CN¥2.05b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Of course, Minth Group has a market capitalization of CN¥29.9b, so these liabilities are probably manageable. Having said that, it's clear that we should continue to monitor its balance sheet, lest it change for the worse.

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.

Minth Group's net debt is only 0.42 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 149 times over. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. On top of that, Minth Group grew its EBIT by 47% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Minth 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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, Minth Group reported free cash flow worth 2.1% of its EBIT, which is really quite low. For us, cash conversion that low sparks a little paranoia about is ability to extinguish debt.

Our View

Happily, Minth Group's impressive interest cover implies it has the upper hand on its debt. But we must concede we find its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow has the opposite effect. Taking all this data into account, it seems to us that Minth Group takes a pretty sensible approach to debt. While that brings some risk, it can also enhance returns for shareholders. 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. We've identified 1 warning sign with Minth Group , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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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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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