Is Godrej Agrovet (NSE:GODREJAGRO) A Risky Investment?
Warren Buffett famously said, '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. Importantly, Godrej Agrovet Limited (NSE:GODREJAGRO) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?
Why Does Debt Bring Risk?
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. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.
Check out our latest analysis for Godrej Agrovet
How Much Debt Does Godrej Agrovet Carry?
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2022 Godrej Agrovet had ₹15.8b of debt, an increase on ₹14.9b, over one year. However, it also had ₹901.3m in cash, and so its net debt is ₹14.9b.
How Strong Is Godrej Agrovet's Balance Sheet?
We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Godrej Agrovet had liabilities of ₹24.9b falling due within a year, and liabilities of ₹2.98b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had ₹901.3m in cash and ₹9.46b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹17.6b.
Godrej Agrovet has a market capitalization of ₹80.7b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt.
We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.
Godrej Agrovet has net debt worth 2.4 times EBITDA, which isn't too much, but its interest cover looks a bit on the low side, with EBIT at only 5.3 times the interest expense. While these numbers do not alarm us, it's worth noting that the cost of the company's debt is having a real impact. Notably Godrej Agrovet's EBIT was pretty flat over the last year. Ideally it can diminish its debt load by kick-starting earnings growth. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Godrej Agrovet 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 company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. During the last three years, Godrej Agrovet burned a lot of cash. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.
Godrej Agrovet's struggle to convert EBIT to free cash flow had us second guessing its balance sheet strength, but the other data-points we considered were relatively redeeming. For example, its level of total liabilities is relatively strong. When we consider all the factors discussed, it seems to us that Godrej Agrovet is taking some risks with its use of debt. While that debt can boost returns, we think the company has enough leverage now. 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. For example, we've discovered 4 warning signs for Godrej Agrovet that you should be aware of before investing here.
At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.
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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.
Godrej Agrovet Limited, an agri-business company, provides products and services that enhance crop and livestock yields in India and internationally.
High growth potential with adequate balance sheet and pays a dividend.