July 19, 2024

Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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 RGT Berhad (KLSE:RGTBHD) does use debt in its business. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?
Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free 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. 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.
Check out our latest analysis for RGT Berhad
You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that as of June 2022 RGT Berhad had RM54.0m of debt, an increase on RM17.8m, over one year. On the flip side, it has RM30.3m in cash leading to net debt of about RM23.7m.
We can see from the most recent balance sheet that RGT Berhad had liabilities of RM37.4m falling due within a year, and liabilities of RM52.2m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of RM30.3m and RM25.7m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling RM33.7m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.
Of course, RGT Berhad has a market capitalization of RM340.8m, so these liabilities are probably manageable. But there are sufficient liabilities that we would certainly recommend shareholders continue to monitor the balance sheet, going forward.
We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.
RGT Berhad's net debt is only 1.3 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 13.8 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. In fact RGT Berhad's saving grace is its low debt levels, because its EBIT has tanked 26% in the last twelve months. When it comes to paying off debt, falling earnings are no more useful than sugary sodas are for your health. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since RGT Berhad 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 we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. Over the last three years, RGT Berhad saw substantial negative free cash flow, in total. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.
Neither RGT Berhad's ability to grow its EBIT nor its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow gave us confidence in its ability to take on more debt. But its interest cover tells a very different story, and suggests some resilience. Taking the abovementioned factors together we do think RGT Berhad's debt poses some risks to the business. While that debt can boost returns, we think the company has enough leverage now. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet – far from it. For example RGT Berhad has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.
At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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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.
RGT Berhad, an investment holding company, manufactures and sells moulded plastic products in Malaysia, the United States, Europe, 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.
Adequate balance sheet with questionable track record.
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.
RGT Berhad, an investment holding company, manufactures and sells moulded plastic products in Malaysia, the United States, Europe, 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.
Adequate balance sheet with questionable track record.
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