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.' 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. Importantly, Tek Seng Holdings Berhad (KLSE:TEKSENG) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
What Risk Does Debt Bring?
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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
How Much Debt Does Tek Seng Holdings Berhad Carry?
The chart below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Tek Seng Holdings Berhad had RM19.9m in debt in June 2022; about the same as the year before. But on the other hand it also has RM54.0m in cash, leading to a RM34.1m net cash position.
How Healthy Is Tek Seng Holdings Berhad's Balance Sheet?
According to the last reported balance sheet, Tek Seng Holdings Berhad had liabilities of RM32.5m due within 12 months, and liabilities of RM24.8m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of RM54.0m as well as receivables valued at RM34.7m due within 12 months. So it actually has RM31.4m more liquid assets than total liabilities.
This excess liquidity suggests that Tek Seng Holdings Berhad is taking a careful approach to debt. Because it has plenty of assets, it is unlikely to have trouble with its lenders. Succinctly put, Tek Seng Holdings Berhad boasts net cash, so it's fair to say it does not have a heavy debt load!
The modesty of its debt load may become crucial for Tek Seng Holdings Berhad if management cannot prevent a repeat of the 44% cut to EBIT over the last year. Falling earnings (if the trend continues) could eventually make even modest debt quite risky. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is Tek Seng 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.
Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. Tek Seng Holdings Berhad may have net cash on the balance sheet, but it is still interesting to look at how well the business converts its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, because that will influence both its need for, and its capacity to manage debt. During the last three years, Tek Seng Holdings Berhad generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 84% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.
While we empathize with investors who find debt concerning, you should keep in mind that Tek Seng Holdings Berhad has net cash of RM34.1m, as well as more liquid assets than liabilities. The cherry on top was that in converted 84% of that EBIT to free cash flow, bringing in RM29m. So we don't think Tek Seng Holdings Berhad's use of debt is risky. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Tek Seng Holdings Berhad that you should be aware of before investing here.
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 Tek Seng 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.View the Free Analysis
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.
Tek Seng Holdings Berhad
Tek Seng Holdings Berhad, an investment holding company, manufactures and trades in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) related products and polypropylene (PP) non-woven related products.
The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.
|Analysis Area||Score (0-6)|
Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.
Flawless balance sheet average dividend payer.