Stock Analysis

Is Bannari Amman Spinning Mills (NSE:BASML) Using Too Much Debt?

Published
NSEI:BASML
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. As with many other companies Bannari Amman Spinning Mills Ltd (NSE:BASML) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

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 common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. 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 the opportunities and risks within the IN Luxury industry.

What Is Bannari Amman Spinning Mills's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at September 2022 Bannari Amman Spinning Mills had debt of ₹5.97b, up from ₹5.73b in one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₹221.7m, its net debt is less, at about ₹5.74b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:BASML Debt to Equity History December 2nd 2022

How Healthy Is Bannari Amman Spinning Mills' Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Bannari Amman Spinning Mills had liabilities of ₹4.19b falling due within a year, and liabilities of ₹3.56b due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of ₹221.7m and ₹1.87b worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹5.66b.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the ₹3.40b company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. At the end of the day, Bannari Amman Spinning Mills 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.

Weak interest cover of 1.6 times and a disturbingly high net debt to EBITDA ratio of 5.1 hit our confidence in Bannari Amman Spinning Mills like a one-two punch to the gut. The debt burden here is substantial. Worse, Bannari Amman Spinning Mills's EBIT was down 41% over the last year. If earnings continue to follow that trajectory, paying off that debt load will be harder than convincing us to run a marathon in the rain. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Bannari Amman Spinning Mills 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 business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. During the last three years, Bannari Amman Spinning Mills produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 74% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

To be frank both Bannari Amman Spinning Mills'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 at least it's pretty decent at converting EBIT to free cash flow; that's encouraging. Taking into account all the aforementioned factors, it looks like Bannari Amman Spinning Mills has too much debt. That sort of riskiness is ok for some, but it certainly doesn't float our boat. 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. For instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for Bannari Amman Spinning Mills (1 can't be ignored) you should be aware of.

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.

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

Find out whether Bannari Amman Spinning Mills 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