July 14, 2024

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt – which is usually involved in bankruptcies – is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. We can see that China BlueChemical Ltd. (HKG:3983) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well – and to its own advantage. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
View our latest analysis for China BlueChemical
As you can see below, at the end of June 2022, China BlueChemical had CN¥1.61b of debt, up from CN¥921.1m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. But on the other hand it also has CN¥11.4b in cash, leading to a CN¥9.77b net cash position.
According to the last reported balance sheet, China BlueChemical had liabilities of CN¥3.51b due within 12 months, and liabilities of CN¥1.44b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of CN¥11.4b as well as receivables valued at CN¥510.9m due within 12 months. So it can boast CN¥6.95b more liquid assets than total liabilities.
This excess liquidity is a great indication that China BlueChemical's balance sheet is almost as strong as Fort Knox. On this view, lenders should feel as safe as the beloved of a black-belt karate master. Simply put, the fact that China BlueChemical has more cash than debt is arguably a good indication that it can manage its debt safely.
On top of that, China BlueChemical grew its EBIT by 43% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if China BlueChemical can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. China BlueChemical may have net cash on the balance sheet, but it is still interesting to look at how well the business converts its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, because that will influence both its need for, and its capacity to manage debt. During the last three years, China BlueChemical generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 96% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.
While we empathize with investors who find debt concerning, you should keep in mind that China BlueChemical has net cash of CN¥9.77b, as well as more liquid assets than liabilities. The cherry on top was that in converted 96% of that EBIT to free cash flow, bringing in CN¥1.9b. At the end of the day we're not concerned about China BlueChemical's debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for China BlueChemical that you should be aware of.
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.
Find out whether China BlueChemical 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.
Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
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China BlueChemical Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and sells mineral fertilizers and chemical products in the People’s Republic of China and internationally.
The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.
Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.
Flawless balance sheet average dividend payer.
Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.
China BlueChemical Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and sells mineral fertilizers and chemical products in the People’s Republic of China and internationally.
The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.
Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.
Flawless balance sheet average dividend payer.
Simply Wall Street Pty Ltd (ACN 600 056 611), is a Corporate Authorised Representative (Authorised Representative Number: 467183) of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 337927). Any advice contained in this website is general advice only and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should not rely on any advice and/or information contained in this website and before making any investment decision we recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your situation and seek appropriate financial, taxation and legal advice. Please read our Financial Services Guide before deciding whether to obtain financial services from us.

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