These 4 Measures Indicate That Country View Berhad (KLSE:CVIEW) Is Using Debt Extensively

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 18, 2021
KLSE:CVIEW
Source: Shutterstock

Howard Marks put it nicely when he said that, rather than worrying about share price volatility, 'The possibility of permanent loss is the risk I worry about... and every practical investor I know worries about.' 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 Country View Berhad (KLSE:CVIEW) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Country View Berhad

What Is Country View Berhad's Net Debt?

As you can see below, Country View Berhad had RM206.0m of debt at August 2021, down from RM224.8m a year prior. However, it does have RM9.11m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about RM196.9m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
KLSE:CVIEW Debt to Equity History November 19th 2021

How Healthy Is Country View Berhad's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Country View Berhad had liabilities of RM69.2m falling due within a year, and liabilities of RM190.7m due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had RM9.11m in cash and RM37.5m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling RM213.3m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the RM101.0m company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we definitely think shareholders need to watch this one closely. At the end of the day, Country View Berhad would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment.

We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Country View Berhad has a rather high debt to EBITDA ratio of 16.4 which suggests a meaningful debt load. But the good news is that it boasts fairly comforting interest cover of 6.8 times, suggesting it can responsibly service its obligations. It is well worth noting that Country View Berhad's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 50% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Country View Berhad's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. Over the last three years, Country View Berhad actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.

Our View

While Country View Berhad's level of total liabilities has us nervous. To wit both its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow and EBIT growth rate were encouraging signs. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Country View 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. 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. We've identified 5 warning signs with Country View Berhad (at least 2 which are concerning) , 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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