Stock Analysis

Health Check: How Prudently Does Tower Investments (WSE:TOW) Use Debt?

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David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. We note that Tower Investments S.A. (WSE:TOW) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. Of course, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Tower Investments

What Is Tower Investments's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Tower Investments had zł17.7m of debt in September 2022, down from zł24.6m, one year before. On the flip side, it has zł4.32m in cash leading to net debt of about zł13.4m.

WSE:TOW Debt to Equity History March 14th 2023

A Look At Tower Investments' Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Tower Investments had liabilities of zł29.7m due within a year, and liabilities of zł11.0m falling due after that. Offsetting this, it had zł4.32m in cash and zł13.6m in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling zł22.8m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit casts a shadow over the zł12.1m company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. At the end of the day, Tower Investments would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Tower Investments will need earnings to service that debt. 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.

Over 12 months, Tower Investments reported revenue of zł43m, which is a gain of 17%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. That rate of growth is a bit slow for our taste, but it takes all types to make a world.

Caveat Emptor

Importantly, Tower Investments had an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss over the last year. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at zł803k. Considering that alongside the liabilities mentioned above make us nervous about the company. It would need to improve its operations quickly for us to be interested in it. It's fair to say the loss of zł1.0m didn't encourage us either; we'd like to see a profit. And until that time we think this is a risky stock. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Tower Investments (including 2 which are a bit concerning) .

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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