Dadi International Group (HKG:8130) Seems To Be Using A Lot Of Debt

By
Simply Wall St
Published
July 01, 2021
SEHK:8130
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. Importantly, Dadi International Group Limited (HKG:8130) does carry debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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, the upside of debt is that it often represents cheap capital, especially when it replaces dilution in a company with the ability to reinvest at high rates of return. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

View our latest analysis for Dadi International Group

What Is Dadi International Group's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of March 2021 Dadi International Group had HK$627.2m of debt, an increase on HK$547.2m, over one year. However, it does have HK$56.1m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about HK$571.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
SEHK:8130 Debt to Equity History July 1st 2021

How Healthy Is Dadi International Group's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Dadi International Group had liabilities of HK$970.2m falling due within a year, and liabilities of HK$215.0k due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of HK$56.1m as well as receivables valued at HK$893.4m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total HK$20.9m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Of course, Dadi International Group has a market capitalization of HK$243.9m, so these liabilities are probably manageable. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.

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

Dadi International Group shareholders face the double whammy of a high net debt to EBITDA ratio (10.7), and fairly weak interest coverage, since EBIT is just 0.89 times the interest expense. The debt burden here is substantial. Even worse, Dadi International Group saw its EBIT tank 71% over the last 12 months. If earnings keep going like that over the long term, it has a snowball's chance in hell of paying off that debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Dadi International Group'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.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the last two years, Dadi International Group saw substantial negative free cash flow, in total. While that may be a result of expenditure for growth, it does make the debt far more risky.

Our View

To be frank both Dadi International Group's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow and its track record of (not) growing its EBIT make us rather uncomfortable with its debt levels. But on the bright side, its level of total liabilities is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. Overall, it seems to us that Dadi International Group's balance sheet is really quite a risk to the business. For this reason we're pretty cautious about the stock, and we think shareholders should keep a close eye on its liquidity. 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. Be aware that Dadi International Group is showing 3 warning signs 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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