Stock Analysis

These 4 Measures Indicate That Palred Technologies (NSE:PALREDTEC) Is Using Debt Extensively

NSEI:PALREDTEC
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Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that '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. Importantly, Palred Technologies Limited (NSE:PALREDTEC) does carry debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. 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, 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.

See our latest analysis for Palred Technologies

What Is Palred Technologies's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of March 2022 Palred Technologies had ₹314.7m of debt, an increase on ₹278.7m, over one year. However, it does have ₹240.5m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about ₹74.3m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:PALREDTEC Debt to Equity History May 26th 2022

A Look At Palred Technologies' Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Palred Technologies had liabilities of ₹348.6m due within a year, and liabilities of ₹24.2m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₹240.5m as well as receivables valued at ₹137.6m due within 12 months. So its total liabilities are just about perfectly matched by its shorter-term, liquid assets.

This state of affairs indicates that Palred Technologies' balance sheet looks quite solid, as its total liabilities are just about equal to its liquid assets. So while it's hard to imagine that the ₹1.17b 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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

While we wouldn't worry about Palred Technologies's net debt to EBITDA ratio of 3.4, we think its super-low interest cover of 0.49 times is a sign of high leverage. So shareholders should probably be aware that interest expenses appear to have really impacted the business lately. Even worse, Palred Technologies saw its EBIT tank 68% over the last 12 months. If earnings keep going like that over the long term, it has a snowball's chance in hell of paying off that debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Palred Technologies 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 we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. During the last two years, Palred Technologies burned a lot of cash. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.

Our View

On the face of it, Palred Technologies's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow left us tentative about the stock, and its EBIT growth rate was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But at least it's pretty decent at staying on top of its total liabilities; that's encouraging. Overall, we think it's fair to say that Palred Technologies has enough debt that there are some real risks around the balance sheet. If all goes well, that should boost returns, but on the flip side, the risk of permanent capital loss is elevated by the debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example - Palred Technologies has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

Of course, if you're the type of investor who prefers buying stocks without the burden of debt, then don't hesitate to discover our exclusive list of net cash growth stocks, today.

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

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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.