Stock Analysis

Does Adani Green Energy (NSE:ADANIGREEN) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

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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 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, Adani Green Energy Limited (NSE:ADANIGREEN) does carry debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Adani Green Energy

What Is Adani Green Energy's Net Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of September 2022, Adani Green Energy had ₹520.4b of debt, up from ₹435.5b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, it also had ₹22.1b in cash, and so its net debt is ₹498.4b.

NSEI:ADANIGREEN Debt to Equity History March 19th 2023

How Healthy Is Adani Green Energy's Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Adani Green Energy had liabilities of ₹85.6b due within 12 months and liabilities of ₹471.2b due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of ₹22.1b and ₹13.1b worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total ₹521.6b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This deficit isn't so bad because Adani Green Energy is worth a massive ₹1.29t, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

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

Weak interest cover of 2.4 times and a disturbingly high net debt to EBITDA ratio of 11.2 hit our confidence in Adani Green Energy like a one-two punch to the gut. The debt burden here is substantial. Looking on the bright side, Adani Green Energy boosted its EBIT by a silky 41% in the last year. Like the milk of human kindness that sort of growth increases resilience, making the company more capable of managing debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Adani Green Energy's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. During the last three years, Adani Green Energy 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

On the face of it, Adani Green Energy's net debt to EBITDA left us tentative about the stock, and its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But on the bright side, its EBIT growth rate is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. Looking at the balance sheet and taking into account all these factors, we do believe that debt is making Adani Green Energy stock a bit risky. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we'd generally feel more comfortable with less leverage. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Adani Green Energy you should be aware of.

At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.

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