Stock Analysis

Coforge (NSE:COFORGE) Has A Rock Solid Balance Sheet

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NSEI:COFORGE
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David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' 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. We can see that Coforge Limited (NSE:COFORGE) does use debt in its business. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Coforge

What Is Coforge's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of September 2022 Coforge had ₹5.84b of debt, an increase on ₹4.29b, over one year. However, it also had ₹3.89b in cash, and so its net debt is ₹1.95b.

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NSEI:COFORGE Debt to Equity History December 9th 2022

How Healthy Is Coforge's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Coforge had liabilities of ₹16.9b due within a year, and liabilities of ₹7.39b falling due after that. Offsetting this, it had ₹3.89b in cash and ₹18.2b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹2.23b.

Having regard to Coforge's size, it seems that its liquid assets are well balanced with its total liabilities. So while it's hard to imagine that the ₹243.1b company is struggling for cash, we still think it's worth monitoring its balance sheet. Carrying virtually no net debt, Coforge has a very light debt load indeed.

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). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).

Coforge has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.17. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 21.3 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. On top of that, Coforge grew its EBIT by 38% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its debt. 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 Coforge 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.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. During the last three years, Coforge produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 66% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Our View

Coforge's interest cover suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its EBIT growth rate is also very heartening. Overall, we don't think Coforge is taking any bad risks, as its debt load seems modest. So the balance sheet looks pretty healthy, to us. 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 - Coforge has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

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.

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

Find out whether Coforge 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.

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