Stock Analysis

Parkwood Holdings Berhad (KLSE:PARKWD) Has A Somewhat Strained Balance Sheet

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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.' 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. We can see that Parkwood Holdings Berhad (KLSE:PARKWD) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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 examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

Check out our latest analysis for Parkwood Holdings Berhad

How Much Debt Does Parkwood Holdings Berhad Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of December 2022 Parkwood Holdings Berhad had RM25.2m of debt, an increase on RM23.7m, over one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of RM20.3m, its net debt is less, at about RM4.91m.

KLSE:PARKWD Debt to Equity History March 22nd 2023

How Healthy Is Parkwood Holdings Berhad's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Parkwood Holdings Berhad had liabilities of RM10.0m due within a year, and liabilities of RM23.1m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of RM20.3m as well as receivables valued at RM9.50m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total RM3.37m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

Since publicly traded Parkwood Holdings Berhad shares are worth a total of RM34.4m, it seems unlikely that this level of liabilities would be a major threat. Having said that, it's clear that we should continue to monitor its balance sheet, lest it change for the worse.

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.

Looking at its net debt to EBITDA of 1.2 and interest cover of 4.7 times, it seems to us that Parkwood Holdings Berhad is probably using debt in a pretty reasonable way. But the interest payments are certainly sufficient to have us thinking about how affordable its debt is. We also note that Parkwood Holdings Berhad improved its EBIT from a last year's loss to a positive RM4.2m. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is Parkwood Holdings Berhad's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So if you're keen to discover more about its earnings, it might be worth checking out this graph of its long term earnings trend.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So it is important to check how much of its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) converts to actual free cash flow. Over the last year, Parkwood Holdings Berhad saw substantial negative free cash flow, in total. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.

Our View

Parkwood Holdings Berhad's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow was a real negative on this analysis, although the other factors we considered cast it in a significantly better light. For example, its net debt to EBITDA is relatively strong. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Parkwood Holdings Berhad is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. Not all risk is bad, as it can boost share price returns if it pays off, but this debt risk is worth keeping in mind. 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. We've identified 2 warning signs with Parkwood Holdings Berhad (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Of course, if you're the type of investor who prefers buying stocks without the burden of debt, then don't hesitate to discover our exclusive list of net cash growth stocks, today.

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