Here's Why Impact Developer & Contractor (BVB:IMP) Has A Meaningful Debt Burden

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 07, 2021
BVB:IMP
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' When we think about how risky a company is, we always like to look at its use of debt, since debt overload can lead to ruin. As with many other companies Impact Developer & Contractor S.A. (BVB:IMP) makes use of debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Impact Developer & Contractor

What Is Impact Developer & Contractor's Net Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of March 2021, Impact Developer & Contractor had RON278.9m of debt, up from RON232.6m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. However, it also had RON64.3m in cash, and so its net debt is RON214.6m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BVB:IMP Debt to Equity History June 8th 2021

How Healthy Is Impact Developer & Contractor's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Impact Developer & Contractor had liabilities of RON97.2m due within a year, and liabilities of RON278.2m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of RON64.3m as well as receivables valued at RON40.0m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling RON271.1m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Impact Developer & Contractor has a market capitalization of RON757.9m, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

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). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).

With a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 5.7, it's fair to say Impact Developer & Contractor does have a significant amount of debt. But the good news is that it boasts fairly comforting interest cover of 4.2 times, suggesting it can responsibly service its obligations. On a slightly more positive note, Impact Developer & Contractor grew its EBIT at 19% over the last year, further increasing its ability to manage debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Impact Developer & Contractor'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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. During the last three years, Impact Developer & Contractor burned a lot of cash. While that may be a result of expenditure for growth, it does make the debt far more risky.

Our View

To be frank both Impact Developer & Contractor's net debt to EBITDA and its track record of converting EBIT to free cash flow make us rather uncomfortable with its debt levels. But at least it's pretty decent at growing its EBIT; that's encouraging. Looking at the balance sheet and taking into account all these factors, we do believe that debt is making Impact Developer & Contractor stock a bit risky. Some people like that sort of risk, but we're mindful of the potential pitfalls, so we'd probably prefer it carry less debt. 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 Impact Developer & Contractor has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is concerning) we think you should know about.

At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.

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