Stock Analysis

Does Gamuda Berhad (KLSE:GAMUDA) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

KLSE:GAMUDA
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The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says '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 Gamuda Berhad (KLSE:GAMUDA) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

Check out our latest analysis for Gamuda Berhad

How Much Debt Does Gamuda Berhad Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Gamuda Berhad had debt of RM5.01b at the end of October 2022, a reduction from RM5.62b over a year. However, it does have RM4.74b in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about RM266.5m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
KLSE:GAMUDA Debt to Equity History January 6th 2023

A Look At Gamuda Berhad's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Gamuda Berhad had liabilities of RM5.37b due within 12 months, and liabilities of RM3.67b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of RM4.74b as well as receivables valued at RM4.67b due within 12 months. So it can boast RM377.6m more liquid assets than total liabilities.

This surplus suggests that Gamuda Berhad has a conservative balance sheet, and could probably eliminate its debt without much difficulty.

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.

Gamuda Berhad has a low debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.54. And remarkably, despite having net debt, it actually received more in interest over the last twelve months than it had to pay. So it's fair to say it can handle debt like a hotshot teppanyaki chef handles cooking. Better yet, Gamuda Berhad grew its EBIT by 106% last year, which is an impressive improvement. That boost will make it even easier to pay down debt going forward. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Gamuda Berhad'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 business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Gamuda Berhad actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. That sort of strong cash generation warms our hearts like a puppy in a bumblebee suit.

Our View

Gamuda Berhad'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 the good news does not stop there, as its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow also supports that impression! It looks Gamuda Berhad has no trouble standing on its own two feet, and it has no reason to fear its lenders. For investing nerds like us its balance sheet is almost charming. 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. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Gamuda Berhad that you should be aware of.

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.

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

Find out whether Gamuda Berhad is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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.