Inter Gamma Investment (TLV:INTR) Seems To Use Debt Quite Sensibly

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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.’ 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 Inter Gamma Investment Company Ltd (TLV:INTR) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. 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.

See our latest analysis for Inter Gamma Investment

How Much Debt Does Inter Gamma Investment Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Inter Gamma Investment had ₪13.8m of debt in June 2020, down from ₪19.2m, one year before. However, it does have ₪6.54m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about ₪7.29m.

debt-equity-history-analysis

TASE:INTR Debt to Equity History November 23rd 2020

A Look At Inter Gamma Investment’s Liabilities

The latest balance sheet data shows that Inter Gamma Investment had liabilities of ₪12.3m due within a year, and liabilities of ₪10.6m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of ₪6.54m as well as receivables valued at ₪6.28m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₪10.1m.

Of course, Inter Gamma Investment has a market capitalization of ₪98.4m, so these liabilities are probably manageable. Having said that, it’s clear that we should continue to monitor its balance sheet, lest it change for the worse.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Inter Gamma Investment has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.76. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 18.6 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. It is just as well that Inter Gamma Investment’s load is not too heavy, because its EBIT was down 24% over the last year. When a company sees its earnings tank, it can sometimes find its relationships with its lenders turn sour. 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 Inter Gamma Investment 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, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don’t cut it. So it’s worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Inter Gamma Investment recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 97% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we’d usually expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

Inter Gamma Investment’s interest cover suggests it can handle its debt as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo could score a goal against an under 14’s goalkeeper. But the stark truth is that we are concerned by its EBIT growth rate. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Inter Gamma Investment can handle its debt fairly comfortably. On the plus side, this leverage can boost shareholder returns, but the potential downside is more risk of loss, so it’s worth monitoring the balance sheet. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet – far from it. For example, we’ve discovered 3 warning signs for Inter Gamma Investment that you should be aware of before investing here.

If, after all that, you’re more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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