Stock Analysis

Is Brack Capital Properties (TLV:BCNV) Using Too Much Debt?

TASE:BCNV-M
Source: Shutterstock

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.' 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. We can see that Brack Capital Properties NV (TLV:BCNV) does use debt in its business. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free 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. 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 step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Brack Capital Properties

What Is Brack Capital Properties's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Brack Capital Properties had €631.3m of debt in December 2022, down from €673.0m, one year before. However, it does have €210.5m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about €420.8m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TASE:BCNV Debt to Equity History April 21st 2023

How Healthy Is Brack Capital Properties' Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Brack Capital Properties had liabilities of €415.0m falling due within a year, and liabilities of €417.3m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of €210.5m as well as receivables valued at €15.8m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total €606.1m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This is a mountain of leverage relative to its market capitalization of €733.1m. This suggests shareholders would be heavily diluted if the company needed to shore up its balance sheet in a hurry.

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). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).

Weak interest cover of 2.1 times and a disturbingly high net debt to EBITDA ratio of 18.8 hit our confidence in Brack Capital Properties like a one-two punch to the gut. This means we'd consider it to have a heavy debt load. Worse, Brack Capital Properties's EBIT was down 36% 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. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Brack Capital Properties 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, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last three years, Brack Capital Properties produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 66% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Our View

On the face of it, Brack Capital Properties's net debt to EBITDA left us tentative about the stock, and its EBIT growth rate was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But at least it's pretty decent at converting EBIT to free cash flow; that's encouraging. Overall, it seems to us that Brack Capital Properties'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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Brack Capital Properties (of which 2 don't sit too well with us!) you should know about.

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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Brack Capital Properties is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.