Stock Analysis

EIH (NSE:EIHOTEL) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

NSEI:EIHOTEL
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Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. We can see that EIH Limited (NSE:EIHOTEL) 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 is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. 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 EIH

What Is EIH's Net Debt?

As you can see below, EIH had ₹2.31b of debt at September 2022, down from ₹4.21b a year prior. However, its balance sheet shows it holds ₹3.09b in cash, so it actually has ₹776.9m net cash.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:EIHOTEL Debt to Equity History January 21st 2023

A Look At EIH's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, EIH had liabilities of ₹5.48b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₹3.92b due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of ₹3.09b and ₹1.43b worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹4.88b.

Of course, EIH has a market capitalization of ₹105.1b, so these liabilities are probably manageable. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward. While it does have liabilities worth noting, EIH also has more cash than debt, so we're pretty confident it can manage its debt safely.

It was also good to see that despite losing money on the EBIT line last year, EIH turned things around in the last 12 months, delivering and EBIT of ₹2.3b. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine EIH's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. While EIH has net cash on its balance sheet, it's still worth taking a look at its ability to convert earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, to help us understand how quickly it is building (or eroding) that cash balance. During the last year, EIH produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 62% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Summing Up

While it is always sensible to look at a company's total liabilities, it is very reassuring that EIH has ₹776.9m in net cash. So is EIH's debt a risk? It doesn't seem so to us. Above most other metrics, we think its important to track how fast earnings per share is growing, if at all. If you've also come to that realization, you're in luck, because today you can view this interactive graph of EIH's earnings per share history for free.

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

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

Find out whether EIH 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.

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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.