Stock Analysis

Here's Why Alkyl Amines Chemicals (NSE:ALKYLAMINE) Can Manage Its Debt Responsibly

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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 Alkyl Amines Chemicals Limited (NSE:ALKYLAMINE) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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 Alkyl Amines Chemicals

What Is Alkyl Amines Chemicals's Net Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at September 2022 Alkyl Amines Chemicals had debt of ₹661.7m, up from ₹356.0m in one year. However, it also had ₹216.5m in cash, and so its net debt is ₹445.2m.

NSEI:ALKYLAMINE Debt to Equity History March 15th 2023

How Strong Is Alkyl Amines Chemicals' Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Alkyl Amines Chemicals had liabilities of ₹2.67b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₹620.5m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had ₹216.5m in cash and ₹2.12b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total ₹952.2m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Having regard to Alkyl Amines Chemicals' size, it seems that its liquid assets are well balanced with its total liabilities. So while it's hard to imagine that the ₹121.5b company is struggling for cash, we still think it's worth monitoring its balance sheet. But either way, Alkyl Amines Chemicals has virtually no net debt, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

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.

Alkyl Amines Chemicals has net debt of just 0.13 times EBITDA, suggesting it could ramp leverage without breaking a sweat. And remarkably, despite having net debt, it actually received more in interest over the last twelve months than it had to pay. So there's no doubt this company can take on debt while staying cool as a cucumber. On the other hand, Alkyl Amines Chemicals's EBIT dived 17%, over the last year. If that rate of decline in earnings continues, the company could find itself in a tight spot. 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 Alkyl Amines Chemicals 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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. In the last three years, Alkyl Amines Chemicals created free cash flow amounting to 12% of its EBIT, an uninspiring performance. That limp level of cash conversion undermines its ability to manage and pay down debt.

Our View

Alkyl Amines Chemicals's interest cover was a real positive on this analysis, as was its net debt to EBITDA. But truth be told its EBIT growth rate had us nibbling our nails. When we consider all the factors mentioned above, we do feel a bit cautious about Alkyl Amines Chemicals's use of debt. While debt does have its upside in higher potential returns, we think shareholders should definitely consider how debt levels might make the stock more risky. 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. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Alkyl Amines Chemicals that you should be aware of before investing here.

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.

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