Stock Analysis

We Think Kutjevo d.d (ZGSE:KTJV) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

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ZGSE:KTJV
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David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the 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. We can see that Kutjevo d.d. (ZGSE:KTJV) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own 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, 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Kutjevo d.d

How Much Debt Does Kutjevo d.d Carry?

The chart below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Kutjevo d.d had Kn103.6m in debt in December 2020; about the same as the year before. However, because it has a cash reserve of Kn22.3m, its net debt is less, at about Kn81.3m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ZGSE:KTJV Debt to Equity History March 12th 2021

How Healthy Is Kutjevo d.d's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Kutjevo d.d had liabilities of Kn69.3m due within a year, and liabilities of Kn88.4m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of Kn22.3m as well as receivables valued at Kn46.1m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total Kn89.3m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Kutjevo d.d has a market capitalization of Kn241.6m, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution.

We use two main ratios to inform us about debt levels relative to earnings. The first is net debt divided by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), while the second is how many times its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) covers its interest expense (or its interest cover, for short). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

We'd say that Kutjevo d.d's moderate net debt to EBITDA ratio ( being 1.8), indicates prudence when it comes to debt. And its strong interest cover of 11.5 times, makes us even more comfortable. Sadly, Kutjevo d.d's EBIT actually dropped 5.5% in the last year. If that earnings trend continues then its debt load will grow heavy like the heart of a polar bear watching its sole cub. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Kutjevo d.d'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 the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Looking at the most recent three years, Kutjevo d.d recorded free cash flow of 22% of its EBIT, which is weaker than we'd expect. That weak cash conversion makes it more difficult to handle indebtedness.

Our View

Neither Kutjevo d.d's ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow nor its EBIT growth rate gave us confidence in its ability to take on more debt. But the good news is it seems to be able to cover its interest expense with its EBIT with ease. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Kutjevo d.d is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. Not all risk is bad, as it can boost share price returns if it pays off, but this debt risk is worth keeping in mind. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. We've identified 1 warning sign with Kutjevo d.d , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

If you're interested in investing in businesses that can grow profits without the burden of debt, then check out this free list of growing businesses that have net cash on the balance sheet.

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