Elgi Rubber (NSE:ELGIRUBCO) Has A Somewhat Strained Balance Sheet

September 01, 2021
  •  Updated
January 12, 2022
NSEI:ELGIRUBCO
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.' So it might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. Importantly, Elgi Rubber Company Limited (NSE:ELGIRUBCO) does carry debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. 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. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

See our latest analysis for Elgi Rubber

What Is Elgi Rubber's Net Debt?

As you can see below, Elgi Rubber had ₹2.43b of debt at March 2021, down from ₹2.69b a year prior. However, it does have ₹100.8m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about ₹2.33b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:ELGIRUBCO Debt to Equity History September 2nd 2021

How Strong Is Elgi Rubber's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Elgi Rubber had liabilities of ₹2.34b falling due within a year, and liabilities of ₹771.3m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₹100.8m as well as receivables valued at ₹566.2m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total ₹2.45b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Given this deficit is actually higher than the company's market capitalization of ₹2.06b, we think shareholders really should watch Elgi Rubber's debt levels, like a parent watching their child ride a bike for the first time. In the scenario where the company had to clean up its balance sheet quickly, it seems likely shareholders would suffer extensive dilution.

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 0.55 times and a disturbingly high net debt to EBITDA ratio of 10.4 hit our confidence in Elgi Rubber like a one-two punch to the gut. This means we'd consider it to have a heavy debt load. However, the silver lining was that Elgi Rubber achieved a positive EBIT of ₹63m in the last twelve months, an improvement on the prior year's loss. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is Elgi Rubber'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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is backed by free cash flow. Over the last year, Elgi Rubber actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

On the face of it, Elgi Rubber's net debt to EBITDA left us tentative about the stock, and its interest cover 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. Looking at the balance sheet and taking into account all these factors, we do believe that debt is making Elgi Rubber stock a bit risky. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we'd generally feel more comfortable with less leverage. 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 Elgi Rubber (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.

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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About NSEI:ELGIRUBCO

Elgi Rubber

Elgi Rubber Company Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of reclaimed rubber, retreading machinery, and retread rubber in India and internationally.

Adequate balance sheet and slightly overvalued.