Stock Analysis

Ta Ann Holdings Berhad (KLSE:TAANN) Seems To Use Debt Rather Sparingly

KLSE:TAANN
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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 might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. As with many other companies Ta Ann Holdings Berhad (KLSE:TAANN) makes use of debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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. 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 thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Ta Ann Holdings Berhad

How Much Debt Does Ta Ann Holdings Berhad Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Ta Ann Holdings Berhad had RM358.9m of debt in March 2022, down from RM451.7m, one year before. However, its balance sheet shows it holds RM437.3m in cash, so it actually has RM78.4m net cash.

debt-equity-history-analysis
KLSE:TAANN Debt to Equity History June 15th 2022

How Strong Is Ta Ann Holdings Berhad's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Ta Ann Holdings Berhad had liabilities of RM475.6m due within a year, and liabilities of RM431.0m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of RM437.3m as well as receivables valued at RM62.9m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling RM406.4m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Ta Ann Holdings Berhad has a market capitalization of RM2.01b, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt. Despite its noteworthy liabilities, Ta Ann Holdings Berhad boasts net cash, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!

Even more impressive was the fact that Ta Ann Holdings Berhad grew its EBIT by 238% over twelve months. If maintained that growth will make the debt even more manageable in the years ahead. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Ta Ann Holdings 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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. While Ta Ann Holdings Berhad has net cash on its balance sheet, it's still worth taking a look at its ability to convert earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, to help us understand how quickly it is building (or eroding) that cash balance. Happily for any shareholders, Ta Ann Holdings Berhad actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last three years. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.

Summing up

Although Ta Ann Holdings Berhad's balance sheet isn't particularly strong, due to the total liabilities, it is clearly positive to see that it has net cash of RM78.4m. And it impressed us with free cash flow of RM455m, being 113% of its EBIT. So we don't think Ta Ann Holdings Berhad's use of debt is risky. 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. For example Ta Ann Holdings Berhad has 3 warning signs (and 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) we think you should know about.

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

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

Find out whether Ta Ann Holdings 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.