Stock Analysis

Mohini Health & Hygiene (NSE:MHHL) Takes On Some Risk With Its Use Of Debt

NSEI:MHHL
Source: Shutterstock

Howard Marks put it nicely when he said that, rather than worrying about share price volatility, 'The possibility of permanent loss is the risk I worry about... and every practical investor I know worries about.' 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, Mohini Health & Hygiene Limited (NSE:MHHL) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. 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, 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. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Mohini Health & Hygiene

What Is Mohini Health & Hygiene's Net Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at September 2023 Mohini Health & Hygiene had debt of ₹361.4m, up from ₹288.0m in one year. Net debt is about the same, since the it doesn't have much cash.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:MHHL Debt to Equity History December 13th 2023

A Look At Mohini Health & Hygiene's Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Mohini Health & Hygiene had liabilities of ₹469.5m due within a year, and liabilities of ₹115.6m falling due after that. Offsetting this, it had ₹3.11m in cash and ₹477.3m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling ₹104.7m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Given Mohini Health & Hygiene has a market capitalization of ₹1.42b, 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 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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Mohini Health & Hygiene has net debt worth 2.3 times EBITDA, which isn't too much, but its interest cover looks a bit on the low side, with EBIT at only 3.2 times the interest expense. While that doesn't worry us too much, it does suggest the interest payments are somewhat of a burden. Importantly, Mohini Health & Hygiene's EBIT fell a jaw-dropping 22% in the last twelve months. If that decline continues then paying off debt will be harder than selling foie gras at a vegan convention. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Mohini Health & Hygiene 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.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Looking at the most recent three years, Mohini Health & Hygiene recorded free cash flow of 29% of its EBIT, which is weaker than we'd expect. That weak cash conversion makes it more difficult to handle indebtedness.

Our View

Mohini Health & Hygiene's EBIT growth rate was a real negative on this analysis, although the other factors we considered cast it in a significantly better light. But on the bright side, its ability to to handle its total liabilities isn't too shabby at all. It's also worth noting that Mohini Health & Hygiene is in the Medical Equipment industry, which is often considered to be quite defensive. Taking the abovementioned factors together we do think Mohini Health & Hygiene's debt poses some risks to the business. 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 3 warning signs for Mohini Health & Hygiene (2 don't sit too well with us!) 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.

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

Find out whether Mohini Health & Hygiene 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.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.