Stock Analysis

Palred Technologies (NSE:PALREDTEC) Has A Somewhat Strained Balance Sheet

NSEI:PALREDTEC
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Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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 Palred Technologies Limited (NSE:PALREDTEC) 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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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.

See our latest analysis for Palred Technologies

What Is Palred Technologies's Net Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at September 2021 Palred Technologies had debt of ₹399.0m, up from ₹202.2m in one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₹198.2m, its net debt is less, at about ₹200.9m.

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NSEI:PALREDTEC Debt to Equity History January 20th 2022

How Healthy Is Palred Technologies' Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Palred Technologies had liabilities of ₹503.0m due within a year, and liabilities of ₹6.77m falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of ₹198.2m and ₹292.7m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling ₹18.9m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Having regard to Palred Technologies' size, it seems that its liquid assets are well balanced with its total liabilities. So while it's hard to imagine that the ₹2.54b company is struggling for cash, we still think it's worth monitoring its balance sheet.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

While Palred Technologies's debt to EBITDA ratio (4.1) suggests that it uses some debt, its interest cover is very weak, at 2.1, suggesting high leverage. So shareholders should probably be aware that interest expenses appear to have really impacted the business lately. However, it should be some comfort for shareholders to recall that Palred Technologies actually grew its EBIT by a hefty 759%, over the last 12 months. If it can keep walking that path it will be in a position to shed its debt with relative ease. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Palred Technologies 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.

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. During the last two years, Palred Technologies burned a lot of cash. While that may be a result of expenditure for growth, it does make the debt far more risky.

Our View

Neither Palred Technologies's ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow nor its interest cover gave us confidence in its ability to take on more debt. But the good news is it seems to be able to grow its EBIT with ease. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Palred Technologies is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. 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. We've identified 4 warning signs with Palred Technologies (at least 2 which are potentially serious) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

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

Find out whether Palred Technologies 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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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.