February 2, 2023

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.' 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. Importantly, N R Agarwal Industries Limited (NSE:NRAIL) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. However, a more usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. Of course, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. When we examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.
See our latest analysis for N R Agarwal Industries
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of March 2022 N R Agarwal Industries had ₹1.75b of debt, an increase on ₹1.12b, over one year. However, it does have ₹61.6m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about ₹1.68b.
According to the last reported balance sheet, N R Agarwal Industries had liabilities of ₹3.21b due within 12 months, and liabilities of ₹1.43b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had ₹61.6m in cash and ₹1.75b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total ₹2.84b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.
N R Agarwal Industries has a market capitalization of ₹6.21b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.
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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.
While N R Agarwal Industries's low debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.1 suggests only modest use of debt, the fact that EBIT only covered the interest expense by 5.3 times last year does give us pause. So we'd recommend keeping a close eye on the impact financing costs are having on the business. N R Agarwal Industries grew its EBIT by 6.3% in the last year. That's far from incredible but it is a good thing, when it comes to paying off debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since N R Agarwal Industries will need earnings to service that debt. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.
Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, N R Agarwal Industries recorded free cash flow worth 57% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.
N R Agarwal Industries's net debt to EBITDA was a real positive on this analysis, as was its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow. On the other hand, its level of total liabilities makes us a little less comfortable about its debt. Considering this range of data points, we think N R Agarwal Industries is in a good position to manage its debt levels. Having said that, the load is sufficiently heavy that we would recommend any shareholders keep a close eye on it. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for N R Agarwal Industries (of which 1 doesn't sit too well with us!) you should know about.
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 N R Agarwal Industries 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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N R Agarwal Industries Limited develops, manufactures, and sells recycled and finished paper products in India.
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 and good value.
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.
N R Agarwal Industries Limited develops, manufactures, and sells recycled and finished paper products in India.
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 and good value.
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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