These 4 Measures Indicate That PVR (NSE:PVR) Is Using Debt Extensively
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.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. We note that PVR Limited (NSE:PVR) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?
When Is Debt A Problem?
Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.
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What Is PVR's Debt?
As you can see below, PVR had ₹52.9b of debt, at September 2022, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₹4.54b, its net debt is less, at about ₹48.4b.
A Look At PVR's Liabilities
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that PVR had liabilities of ₹14.6b due within 12 months and liabilities of ₹44.8b due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₹4.54b as well as receivables valued at ₹1.08b due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹53.8b.
While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since PVR has a market capitalization of ₹154.3b, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt.
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.
PVR shareholders face the double whammy of a high net debt to EBITDA ratio (9.3), and fairly weak interest coverage, since EBIT is just 0.63 times the interest expense. The debt burden here is substantial. One redeeming factor for PVR is that it turned last year's EBIT loss into a gain of ₹2.8b, over the last twelve months. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine PVR's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.
Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is backed by free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, PVR actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last year. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.
Neither PVR's ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT nor its net debt to EBITDA gave us confidence in its ability to take on more debt. But its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow tells a very different story, and suggests some resilience. We think that PVR's debt does make it a bit risky, after considering the aforementioned data points together. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. We've identified 1 warning sign with PVR , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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.
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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.
PVR Limited, a theatrical exhibition company, engages in the exhibition, distribution, and production of movies.
High growth potential and fair value.