Stock Analysis

Viceroy Hotels (NSE:VICEROY) Has Debt But No Earnings; Should You Worry?

NSEI:VHLTD
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The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. We note that Viceroy Hotels Limited (NSE:VICEROY) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own cash flow. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Viceroy Hotels

What Is Viceroy Hotels's Net Debt?

As you can see below, Viceroy Hotels had ₹1.59b of debt at September 2021, down from ₹5.50b a year prior. Net debt is about the same, since the it doesn't have much cash.

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NSEI:VICEROY Debt to Equity History January 1st 2022

How Healthy Is Viceroy Hotels' Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Viceroy Hotels had liabilities of ₹140.9m due within 12 months and liabilities of ₹2.92b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had ₹13.1m in cash and ₹63.4m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹2.98b.

This deficit casts a shadow over the ₹191.7m company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we definitely think shareholders need to watch this one closely. At the end of the day, Viceroy Hotels would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Viceroy Hotels will need earnings to service that debt. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.

In the last year Viceroy Hotels had a loss before interest and tax, and actually shrunk its revenue by 29%, to ₹500m. To be frank that doesn't bode well.

Caveat Emptor

Not only did Viceroy Hotels's revenue slip over the last twelve months, but it also produced negative earnings before interest and tax (EBIT). Its EBIT loss was a whopping ₹317m. Reflecting on this and the significant total liabilities, it's hard to know what to say about the stock because of our intense dis-affinity for it. Sure, the company might have a nice story about how they are going on to a brighter future. But the reality is that it is low on liquid assets relative to liabilities, and it burned through ₹88m in the last year. So we consider this a high risk stock, and we're worried its share price could sink faster than than a dingy with a great white shark attacking it. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. Be aware that Viceroy Hotels is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those can't be ignored...

Of course, if you're the type of investor who prefers buying stocks without the burden of debt, then don't hesitate to discover our exclusive list of net cash growth stocks, today.

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

Find out whether Viceroy Hotels 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.