- Specialty Stores
- OM:BILI A
Is Bilia (STO:BILI A) Using Too Much Debt?
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. We can see that Bilia AB (publ) (STO:BILI A) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
Why Does Debt Bring Risk?
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 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 step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.
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What Is Bilia's Debt?
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of December 2022 Bilia had kr2.96b of debt, an increase on kr1.58b, over one year. However, it does have kr456.0m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about kr2.51b.
A Look At Bilia's Liabilities
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Bilia had liabilities of kr8.77b due within 12 months and liabilities of kr6.35b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had kr456.0m in cash and kr3.08b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling kr11.6b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.
This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of kr12.2b, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Bilia's use of debt. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.
We use two main ratios to inform us about debt levels relative to earnings. The first is net debt divided by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), while the second is how many times its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) covers its interest expense (or its interest cover, for short). 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).
Bilia has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.87. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 11.1 times the size. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. Fortunately, Bilia grew its EBIT by 4.8% in the last year, making that debt load look even more manageable. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Bilia 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.
Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. In the last three years, Bilia's free cash flow amounted to 26% of its EBIT, less than we'd expect. That's not great, when it comes to paying down debt.
Bilia's level of total liabilities and conversion of EBIT to free cash flow definitely weigh on it, in our esteem. But the good news is it seems to be able to cover its interest expense with its EBIT with ease. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Bilia is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. 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. We've identified 3 warning signs with Bilia (at least 1 which shouldn't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you're interested in investing in businesses that can grow profits without the burden of debt, then check out this free list of growing businesses that have net cash on the balance sheet.
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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.
About OM:BILI A
Bilia AB (publ) engages in the distribution and service of cars, trucks, and transport vehicles.
Adequate balance sheet with proven track record and pays a dividend.