Here's Why Shikun & Binui (TLV:SKBN) Has A Meaningful Debt Burden

Simply Wall St
January 24, 2022
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.' 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. We note that Shikun & Binui Ltd. (TLV:SKBN) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. 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 Shikun & Binui

What Is Shikun & Binui's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of September 2021, Shikun & Binui had ₪10.2b of debt, up from ₪8.69b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₪2.32b, its net debt is less, at about ₪7.85b.

TASE:SKBN Debt to Equity History January 24th 2022

A Look At Shikun & Binui's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Shikun & Binui had liabilities of ₪5.58b due within 12 months and liabilities of ₪8.63b due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of ₪2.32b and ₪3.63b worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling ₪8.25b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of ₪8.69b, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Shikun & Binui's use of debt. This suggests shareholders would be heavily diluted if the company needed to shore up its balance sheet in a hurry.

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.

Shikun & Binui shareholders face the double whammy of a high net debt to EBITDA ratio (9.1), and fairly weak interest coverage, since EBIT is just 2.3 times the interest expense. The debt burden here is substantial. Looking on the bright side, Shikun & Binui boosted its EBIT by a silky 44% in the last year. Like the milk of human kindness that sort of growth increases resilience, making the company more capable of managing debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Shikun & Binui will need earnings to service that debt. 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.

Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Shikun & Binui barely recorded positive free cash flow, in total. Some might say that's a concern, when it comes considering how easily it would be for it to down debt.

Our View

We'd go so far as to say Shikun & Binui's net debt to EBITDA was disappointing. But at least it's pretty decent at growing its EBIT; that's encouraging. Looking at the bigger picture, it seems clear to us that Shikun & Binui's use of debt is creating risks for the company. If everything goes well that may pay off but the downside of this debt is a greater risk of permanent losses. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. We've identified 2 warning signs with Shikun & Binui , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

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