Consumer Durables News

Is Vulcabras (BVMF:VULC3) Using Too Much Debt?


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 might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. We note that Vulcabras S.A. (BVMF:VULC3) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well – and to its own advantage. The first step when considering a company’s debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

Our analysis indicates that VULC3 is potentially undervalued!

How Much Debt Does Vulcabras Carry?

As you can see below, Vulcabras had R$379.3m of debt, at September 2022, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, it does have R$212.0m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about R$167.4m.

BOVESPA:VULC3 Debt to Equity History December 11th 2022

How Strong Is Vulcabras’ Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Vulcabras had liabilities of R$606.6m due within 12 months, and liabilities of R$157.0m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of R$212.0m as well as receivables valued at R$729.5m due within 12 months. So it actually has R$177.9m more liquid assets than total liabilities.

This surplus suggests that Vulcabras has a conservative balance sheet, and could probably eliminate its debt without much difficulty.

In order to size up a company’s debt relative to its earnings, we calculate its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) divided by its interest expense (its interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Vulcabras’s net debt is only 0.37 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 18.4 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. In addition to that, we’re happy to report that Vulcabras has boosted its EBIT by 36%, thus reducing the spectre of future debt repayments. 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 Vulcabras can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

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 last three years, Vulcabras barely recorded positive free cash flow, in total. Some might say that’s a concern, when it comes considering how easily it would be for it to down debt.

Our View

The good news is that Vulcabras’s demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But the stark truth is that we are concerned by its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow. Looking at the bigger picture, we think Vulcabras’s use of debt seems quite reasonable and we’re not concerned about it. While debt does bring risk, when used wisely it can also bring a higher return on equity. 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 1 warning sign for Vulcabras that you should be aware of before investing here.

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 Vulcabras 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.

View the Free Analysis

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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