Stock Analysis

We Think Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de (BMV:GISSAA) Can Stay On Top Of Its Debt

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BMV:GISSA A
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Howard Marks put it nicely when he said that, rather than worrying about share price volatility, 'The possibility of permanent loss is the risk I worry about... and every practical investor I know worries about.' 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, Grupo Industrial Saltillo, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV:GISSAA) does carry debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de

How Much Debt Does Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at December 2022 Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de had debt of US$305.6m, up from US$243.3m in one year. However, it does have US$65.6m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$240.0m.

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BMV:GISSA A Debt to Equity History March 18th 2023

How Healthy Is Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de had liabilities of US$494.5m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$275.1m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had US$65.6m in cash and US$198.7m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$505.3m.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of US$566.9m, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de's use of debt. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.

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.

Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de has net debt worth 1.9 times EBITDA, which isn't too much, but its interest cover looks a bit on the low side, with EBIT at only 3.2 times the interest expense. It seems that the business incurs large depreciation and amortisation charges, so maybe its debt load is heavier than it would first appear, since EBITDA is arguably a generous measure of earnings. It is well worth noting that Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 52% 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 Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de'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, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 95% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we'd usually expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

Both Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de's ability to to convert EBIT to free cash flow and its EBIT growth rate gave us comfort that it can handle its debt. On the other hand, its interest cover makes us a little less comfortable about its debt. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de is managing its debt quite well. But a word of caution: we think debt levels are high enough to justify ongoing monitoring. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Grupo Industrial Saltillo. de 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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