Stock Analysis

Is Clabo (BIT:CLA) Using Debt In A Risky Way?

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BIT:CLA
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Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. We note that Clabo S.p.A. (BIT:CLA) does have debt on its balance sheet. 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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. 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.

View our latest analysis for Clabo

What Is Clabo's Net Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of June 2022, Clabo had €45.5m of debt, up from €38.3m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of €2.68m, its net debt is less, at about €42.8m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BIT:CLA Debt to Equity History September 30th 2022

How Strong Is Clabo's Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Clabo had liabilities of €38.6m due within 12 months and liabilities of €41.5m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of €2.68m and €15.6m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total €61.8m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the €17.5m company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. At the end of the day, Clabo would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Clabo 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.

Over 12 months, Clabo reported revenue of €52m, which is a gain of 21%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. Shareholders probably have their fingers crossed that it can grow its way to profits.

Caveat Emptor

Despite the top line growth, Clabo still had an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss over the last year. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at €46k. Combining this information with the significant liabilities we already touched on makes us very hesitant about this stock, to say the least. Of course, it may be able to improve its situation with a bit of luck and good execution. But we think that is unlikely, given it is low on liquid assets, and burned through €2.6m in the last year. So we think this stock is risky, like walking through a dirty dog park with a mask on. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 5 warning signs for Clabo (of which 2 don't sit too well with us!) you should know about.

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.

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

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About BIT:CLA

Clabo

Clabo S.p.A. designs, produces, and distributes refrigerated showcases and furniture for the food retail market worldwide.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation2
Future Growth0
Past Performance0
Financial Health1
Dividends0

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Slightly overvalued with worrying balance sheet.