Stock Analysis

These 4 Measures Indicate That Aegis Logistics (NSE:AEGISCHEM) Is Using Debt Reasonably Well

NSEI:AEGISLOG
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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 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. We can see that Aegis Logistics Limited (NSE:AEGISCHEM) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. 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, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

See our latest analysis for Aegis Logistics

What Is Aegis Logistics's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of March 2022, Aegis Logistics had ₹8.35b of debt, up from ₹6.67b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₹942.0m, its net debt is less, at about ₹7.41b.

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NSEI:AEGISCHEM Debt to Equity History September 15th 2022

How Strong Is Aegis Logistics' Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Aegis Logistics had liabilities of ₹11.7b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₹6.05b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had ₹942.0m in cash and ₹8.55b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling ₹8.22b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Given Aegis Logistics has a market capitalization of ₹103.8b, it's hard to believe these liabilities pose much threat. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.

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). 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).

Aegis Logistics's net debt to EBITDA ratio of about 1.5 suggests only moderate use of debt. And its commanding EBIT of 1k times its interest expense, implies the debt load is as light as a peacock feather. Also positive, Aegis Logistics grew its EBIT by 21% in the last year, and that should make it easier to pay down debt, going forward. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Aegis Logistics can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Considering the last three years, Aegis Logistics actually recorded a cash outflow, overall. Debt is far more risky for companies with unreliable free cash flow, so shareholders should be hoping that the past expenditure will produce free cash flow in the future.

Our View

When it comes to the balance sheet, the standout positive for Aegis Logistics was the fact that it seems able to cover its interest expense with its EBIT confidently. However, our other observations weren't so heartening. In particular, conversion of EBIT to free cash flow gives us cold feet. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that Aegis Logistics is managing its debt quite well. But a word of caution: we think debt levels are high enough to justify ongoing monitoring. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Aegis Logistics you should know about.

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 Aegis Logistics 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.