Stock Analysis

We Think Renergen (JSE:REN) Has A Fair Chunk Of Debt

JSE:REN
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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.' 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. Importantly, Renergen Limited (JSE:REN) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Renergen

How Much Debt Does Renergen Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at August 2023 Renergen had debt of R1.25b, up from R878.8m in one year. On the flip side, it has R186.5m in cash leading to net debt of about R1.06b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
JSE:REN Debt to Equity History February 28th 2024

How Healthy Is Renergen's Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Renergen had liabilities of R507.0m due within a year, and liabilities of R844.8m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of R186.5m as well as receivables valued at R26.4m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total R1.14b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of R1.69b, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Renergen's use of debt. This suggests shareholders would be heavily diluted if the company needed to shore up its balance sheet in a hurry. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Renergen'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.

Over 12 months, Renergen reported revenue of R35m, which is a gain of 1,243%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. When it comes to revenue growth, that's like nailing the game winning 3-pointer!

Caveat Emptor

Even though Renergen managed to grow its top line quite deftly, the cold hard truth is that it is losing money on the EBIT line. To be specific the EBIT loss came in at R65m. Considering that alongside the liabilities mentioned above does not give us much confidence that company should be using so much debt. Quite frankly we think the balance sheet is far from match-fit, although it could be improved with time. However, it doesn't help that it burned through R405m of cash over the last year. So in short it's a really risky stock. 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 4 warning signs with Renergen (at least 1 which is 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Renergen 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.

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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.