Stock Analysis

Radico Khaitan (NSE:RADICO) Takes On Some Risk With Its Use Of Debt

NSEI:RADICO
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Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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 Radico Khaitan Limited (NSE:RADICO) does have debt on its balance sheet. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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. 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. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Radico Khaitan

What Is Radico Khaitan's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of March 2023 Radico Khaitan had ₹6.97b of debt, an increase on ₹1.90b, over one year. On the flip side, it has ₹1.31b in cash leading to net debt of about ₹5.65b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:RADICO Debt to Equity History June 22nd 2023

A Look At Radico Khaitan's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Radico Khaitan had liabilities of ₹10.9b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₹4.22b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₹1.31b as well as receivables valued at ₹8.55b due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹5.25b.

Since publicly traded Radico Khaitan shares are worth a total of ₹163.9b, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. Having said that, it's clear that we should continue to monitor its balance sheet, lest it change for the worse.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

We'd say that Radico Khaitan's moderate net debt to EBITDA ratio ( being 1.6), indicates prudence when it comes to debt. And its commanding EBIT of 13.0 times its interest expense, implies the debt load is as light as a peacock feather. On the other hand, Radico Khaitan's EBIT dived 14%, over the last year. We think hat kind of performance, if repeated frequently, could well lead to difficulties for the stock. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Radico Khaitan'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. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Over the last three years, Radico Khaitan recorded negative free cash flow, in total. Debt is usually more expensive, and almost always more risky in the hands of a company with negative free cash flow. Shareholders ought to hope for an improvement.

Our View

Radico Khaitan's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow and EBIT growth rate definitely weigh on it, in our esteem. But the good news is it seems to be able to cover its interest expense with its EBIT with ease. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Radico Khaitan is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Radico Khaitan you should be aware of.

If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

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

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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.