Is Anjani Portland Cement (NSE:APCL) A Risky Investment?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 25, 2022
NSEI:APCL
Source: Shutterstock

The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. We note that Anjani Portland Cement Limited (NSE:APCL) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own cash flow. 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. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Anjani Portland Cement

How Much Debt Does Anjani Portland Cement Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2021 Anjani Portland Cement had ₹4.88b of debt, an increase on none, over one year. Net debt is about the same, since the it doesn't have much cash.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:APCL Debt to Equity History January 25th 2022

How Strong Is Anjani Portland Cement's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Anjani Portland Cement had liabilities of ₹3.13b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₹4.86b due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of ₹36.0m and ₹767.5m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling ₹7.19b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of ₹7.55b, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Anjani Portland Cement's use of debt. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.

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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Anjani Portland Cement's net debt is 3.4 times its EBITDA, which is a significant but still reasonable amount of leverage. However, its interest coverage of 20.9 is very high, suggesting that the interest expense on the debt is currently quite low. It is well worth noting that Anjani Portland Cement's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 72% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Anjani Portland Cement will need earnings to service that debt. 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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Anjani Portland Cement actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.

Our View

Anjani Portland Cement's interest cover suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. But we must concede we find its level of total liabilities has the opposite effect. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Anjani Portland Cement can handle its debt fairly comfortably. On the plus side, this leverage can boost shareholder returns, but the potential downside is more risk of loss, so it's worth monitoring the balance sheet. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Anjani Portland Cement you should be aware of.

If you're interested in investing in businesses that can grow profits without the burden of debt, then check out this free list of growing businesses that have net cash on the balance sheet.

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