Is Hanmi Science (KRX:008930) Using Too Much Debt?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 29, 2021
KOSE:A008930
Source: Shutterstock

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 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 Hanmi Science Co., Ltd. (KRX:008930) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Hanmi Science

What Is Hanmi Science's Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of December 2020, Hanmi Science had ₩50.0b of debt, up from ₩44.0b a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of ₩15.0b, its net debt is less, at about ₩35.0b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
KOSE:A008930 Debt to Equity History April 30th 2021

A Look At Hanmi Science's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Hanmi Science had liabilities of ₩220.1b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₩44.4b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₩15.0b as well as receivables valued at ₩87.9b due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₩161.6b.

Since publicly traded Hanmi Science shares are worth a total of ₩4.63t, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time. Carrying virtually no net debt, Hanmi Science has a very light debt load indeed.

We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Hanmi Science has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 1.1. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 16.1 times over. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. In addition to that, we're happy to report that Hanmi Science has boosted its EBIT by 56%, thus reducing the spectre of future debt repayments. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is Hanmi Science's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. 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.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Looking at the most recent three years, Hanmi Science recorded free cash flow of 47% of its EBIT, which is weaker than we'd expect. That's not great, when it comes to paying down debt.

Our View

Hanmi Science's interest cover suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14's goalkeeper. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its EBIT growth rate is also very heartening. Zooming out, Hanmi Science seems to use debt quite reasonably; and that gets the nod from us. While debt does bring risk, when used wisely it can also bring a higher return on equity. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. For example - Hanmi Science has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

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.

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