Is Grupo Bimbo. de (BMV:BIMBOA) A Risky Investment?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 27, 2021
BMV:BIMBO A
Source: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. We can see that Grupo Bimbo, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV:BIMBOA) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Grupo Bimbo. de

What Is Grupo Bimbo. de's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Grupo Bimbo. de had Mex$88.5b of debt in June 2021, down from Mex$103.3b, one year before. On the flip side, it has Mex$11.9b in cash leading to net debt of about Mex$76.5b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BMV:BIMBO A Debt to Equity History September 27th 2021

A Look At Grupo Bimbo. de's Liabilities

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Grupo Bimbo. de had liabilities of Mex$72.0b due within 12 months and liabilities of Mex$151.1b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had Mex$11.9b in cash and Mex$25.1b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling Mex$186.1b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This is a mountain of leverage even relative to its gargantuan market capitalization of Mex$253.4b. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.

In order to size up a company's debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its interest cover). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Grupo Bimbo. de has net debt worth 1.7 times EBITDA, which isn't too much, but its interest cover looks a bit on the low side, with EBIT at only 4.4 times the interest expense. While these numbers do not alarm us, it's worth noting that the cost of the company's debt is having a real impact. We note that Grupo Bimbo. de grew its EBIT by 22% in the last year, and that should make it easier to pay down debt, going forward. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Grupo Bimbo. de can strengthen its balance sheet over time. 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 it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, Grupo Bimbo. de recorded free cash flow worth 72% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

Grupo Bimbo. de's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow was a real positive on this analysis, as was its EBIT growth rate. Having said that, its level of total liabilities somewhat sensitizes us to potential future risks to the balance sheet. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that Grupo Bimbo. de 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. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Grupo Bimbo. de that you should be aware of before investing here.

If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

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.

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Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.