Stock Analysis

We Think Shanti Overseas (India) (NSE:SHANTI) Can Stay On Top Of Its Debt

NSEI:SHANTI
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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.' 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 can see that Shanti Overseas (India) Limited (NSE:SHANTI) does use debt in its business. 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. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Shanti Overseas (India)

What Is Shanti Overseas (India)'s Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Shanti Overseas (India) had ₹149.4m of debt in March 2022, down from ₹320.4m, one year before. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₹19.9m, its net debt is less, at about ₹129.5m.

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NSEI:SHANTI Debt to Equity History July 8th 2022

How Strong Is Shanti Overseas (India)'s Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Shanti Overseas (India) had liabilities of ₹87.1m due within 12 months and liabilities of ₹83.7m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had ₹19.9m in cash and ₹68.9m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling ₹82.0m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit isn't so bad because Shanti Overseas (India) is worth ₹311.5m, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution.

In order to size up a company's debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Looking at its net debt to EBITDA of 1.5 and interest cover of 2.7 times, it seems to us that Shanti Overseas (India) is probably using debt in a pretty reasonable way. But the interest payments are certainly sufficient to have us thinking about how affordable its debt is. We saw Shanti Overseas (India) grow its EBIT by 3.7% in the last twelve months. That's far from incredible but it is a good thing, when it comes to paying off debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is Shanti Overseas (India)'s earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So if you're keen to discover more about its earnings, it might be worth checking out this graph of its long term earnings trend.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Shanti Overseas (India) actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

Shanti Overseas (India)'s conversion of EBIT to free cash flow suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. But the stark truth is that we are concerned by its interest cover. All these things considered, it appears that Shanti Overseas (India) can comfortably handle its current debt levels. Of course, while this leverage can enhance returns on equity, it does bring more risk, so it's worth keeping an eye on this one. 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 3 warning signs for Shanti Overseas (India) (of which 2 are concerning!) you should know about.

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.