Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de (BMV:GCC) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 09, 2021
BMV:GCC *
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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 Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV:GCC) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. 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, 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 Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de

How Much Debt Does Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de had debt of US$619.6m at the end of March 2021, a reduction from US$649.0m over a year. However, it also had US$556.9m in cash, and so its net debt is US$62.7m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BMV:GCC * Debt to Equity History June 10th 2021

A Look At Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de had liabilities of US$291.8m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$649.1m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of US$556.9m and US$113.6m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling US$270.4m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Given Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de has a market capitalization of US$2.56b, it's hard to believe these liabilities pose much threat. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time.

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.

While Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de's low debt to EBITDA ratio of 0.22 suggests only modest use of debt, the fact that EBIT only covered the interest expense by 6.9 times last year does give us pause. But the interest payments are certainly sufficient to have us thinking about how affordable its debt is. Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de's EBIT was pretty flat over the last year, but that shouldn't be an issue given the it doesn't have a lot of 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 Cementos de Chihuahua. de's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

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 Cementos de Chihuahua. de actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. That sort of strong cash generation warms our hearts like a puppy in a bumblebee suit.

Our View

The good news is that Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de's demonstrated ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its net debt to EBITDA is also very heartening. Zooming out, Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de 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. 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 1 warning sign for Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. de 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.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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