Stock Analysis

Does Brill Shoe Industries (TLV:BRIL) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

TASE:BRIL
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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.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. As with many other companies Brill Shoe Industries Ltd. (TLV:BRIL) makes use of debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free 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 frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Brill Shoe Industries

How Much Debt Does Brill Shoe Industries Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of June 2023 Brill Shoe Industries had ₪148.6m of debt, an increase on ₪96.4m, over one year. However, it does have ₪12.1m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about ₪136.5m.

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TASE:BRIL Debt to Equity History October 19th 2023

How Strong Is Brill Shoe Industries' Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Brill Shoe Industries had liabilities of ₪247.2m due within 12 months and liabilities of ₪210.0m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had ₪12.1m in cash and ₪118.7m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling ₪326.4m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit casts a shadow over the ₪59.8m company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. At the end of the day, Brill Shoe Industries would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment.

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.

While Brill Shoe Industries's debt to EBITDA ratio (3.7) suggests that it uses some debt, its interest cover is very weak, at 1.3, suggesting high leverage. It seems clear that the cost of borrowing money is negatively impacting returns for shareholders, of late. Worse, Brill Shoe Industries's EBIT was down 63% over the last year. 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 Brill Shoe Industries'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, 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. Happily for any shareholders, Brill Shoe Industries actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. That sort of strong cash generation warms our hearts like a puppy in a bumblebee suit.

Our View

To be frank both Brill Shoe Industries's EBIT growth rate and its track record of staying on top of its total liabilities make us rather uncomfortable with its debt levels. But on the bright side, its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. Overall, it seems to us that Brill Shoe Industries'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. 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. For example, we've discovered 5 warning signs for Brill Shoe Industries (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

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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.