QL Resources Berhad (KLSE:QL) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 28, 2021
KLSE:QL
Source: Shutterstock

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' 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 note that QL Resources Berhad (KLSE:QL) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for QL Resources Berhad

What Is QL Resources Berhad's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at March 2021 QL Resources Berhad had debt of RM1.39b, up from RM1.31b in one year. However, it does have RM487.5m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about RM906.8m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
KLSE:QL Debt to Equity History May 29th 2021

A Look At QL Resources Berhad's Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that QL Resources Berhad had liabilities of RM1.38b due within a year, and liabilities of RM911.0m falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of RM487.5m and RM612.0m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total RM1.19b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Of course, QL Resources Berhad has a market capitalization of RM14.6b, so these liabilities are probably manageable. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.

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.

With net debt sitting at just 1.3 times EBITDA, QL Resources Berhad is arguably pretty conservatively geared. And this view is supported by the solid interest coverage, with EBIT coming in at 9.6 times the interest expense over the last year. In addition to that, we're happy to report that QL Resources Berhad has boosted its EBIT by 33%, thus reducing the spectre of future debt repayments. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if QL Resources Berhad can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. During the last three years, QL Resources Berhad produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 50% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

QL Resources Berhad's EBIT growth rate 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 interest cover is also very heartening. Looking at the bigger picture, we think QL Resources Berhad's use of debt seems quite reasonable and we're not concerned about it. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for QL Resources Berhad you should know about.

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.

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