Stock Analysis

We Think Torrent Power (NSE:TORNTPOWER) Can Stay On Top Of Its Debt

NSEI:TORNTPOWER
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Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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 Torrent Power Limited (NSE:TORNTPOWER) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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 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, 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 examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

See our latest analysis for Torrent Power

How Much Debt Does Torrent Power Carry?

As you can see below, at the end of March 2023, Torrent Power had ₹105.0b of debt, up from ₹91.0b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. On the flip side, it has ₹11.3b in cash leading to net debt of about ₹93.6b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NSEI:TORNTPOWER Debt to Equity History May 31st 2023

A Look At Torrent Power's Liabilities

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Torrent Power had liabilities of ₹69.3b falling due within a year, and liabilities of ₹114.9b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had ₹11.3b in cash and ₹22.5b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₹150.5b.

This deficit isn't so bad because Torrent Power is worth ₹272.3b, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution.

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.

Torrent Power's net debt is sitting at a very reasonable 1.8 times its EBITDA, while its EBIT covered its interest expense just 4.7 times last year. While these numbers do not alarm us, it's worth noting that the cost of the company's debt is having a real impact. It is well worth noting that Torrent Power's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 69% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. 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 Torrent Power'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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Looking at the most recent three years, Torrent Power recorded free cash flow of 44% of its EBIT, which is weaker than we'd expect. That weak cash conversion makes it more difficult to handle indebtedness.

Our View

When it comes to the balance sheet, the standout positive for Torrent Power was the fact that it seems able to grow its EBIT confidently. But the other factors we noted above weren't so encouraging. For example, its level of total liabilities makes us a little nervous about its debt. We would also note that Electric Utilities industry companies like Torrent Power commonly do use debt without problems. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that Torrent Power is managing its debt quite well. But a word of caution: we think debt levels are high enough to justify ongoing monitoring. 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. Be aware that Torrent Power is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

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 Torrent Power 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.