Would GE Power India (NSE:GEPIL) Be Better Off With Less Debt?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 25, 2022
NSEI:GEPIL
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. Importantly, GE Power India Limited (NSE:GEPIL) does carry debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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 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, 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.

Check out our latest analysis for GE Power India

How Much Debt Does GE Power India Carry?

As you can see below, at the end of September 2021, GE Power India had ₹5.92b of debt, up from ₹2.16b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₹1.77b, its net debt is less, at about ₹4.15b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:GEPIL Debt to Equity History January 25th 2022

A Look At GE Power India's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that GE Power India had liabilities of ₹29.4b due within 12 months and liabilities of ₹2.22b due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₹1.77b as well as receivables valued at ₹25.0b due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹4.86b.

GE Power India has a market capitalization of ₹15.9b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is GE Power India'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.

Over 12 months, GE Power India reported revenue of ₹33b, which is a gain of 17%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. That rate of growth is a bit slow for our taste, but it takes all types to make a world.

Caveat Emptor

Over the last twelve months GE Power India produced an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at ₹306m. When we look at that and recall the liabilities on its balance sheet, relative to cash, it seems unwise to us for the company to have any debt. So we think its balance sheet is a little strained, though not beyond repair. Another cause for caution is that is bled ₹3.5b in negative free cash flow over the last twelve months. So suffice it to say we consider the stock very risky. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Be aware that GE Power India is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is significant...

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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