Here’s Why Pekabex (WSE:PBX) Has A Meaningful Debt Burden

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who backed Charlie Munger) once said, ‘The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.’ 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. As with many other companies Pekabex SA (WSE:PBX) makes use of debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. By replacing dilution, though, debt can be an extremely good tool for businesses that need capital to invest in growth at high rates of return. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for Pekabex

What Is Pekabex’s Debt?

As you can see below, at the end of June 2022, Pekabex had zł254.4m of debt, up from zł212.0m a year ago. Click the image for more detail. On the flip side, it has zł144.1m in cash leading to net debt of about zł110.3m.

WSE:PBX Debt to Equity History November 25th 2022

How Strong Is Pekabex’s Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Pekabex had liabilities of zł720.8m due within 12 months and liabilities of zł205.4m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of zł144.1m and zł541.3m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total zł240.8m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This is a mountain of leverage relative to its market capitalization of zł321.5m. This suggests shareholders would be heavily diluted if the company needed to shore up its balance sheet in a hurry.

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

Looking at its net debt to EBITDA of 1.2 and interest cover of 6.8 times, it seems to us that Pekabex is probably using debt in a pretty reasonable way. So we’d recommend keeping a close eye on the impact financing costs are having on the business. But the other side of the story is that Pekabex saw its EBIT decline by 6.7% over the last year. If earnings continue to decline at that rate the company may have increasing difficulty managing its debt load. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analyzing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Pekabex 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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So the logical step is to look at the proportion of that EBIT that is matched by actual free cash flow. During the last three years, Pekabex produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 54% of its EBIT, about what we’d expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

OurView

While Pekabex’s level of total liabilities does give us pause, its net debt to EBITDA and interest cover suggest it can stay on top of its debt load. We think that Pekabex’s debt does make it a bit risky, after considering the aforementioned data points together. Not all risk is bad, as it can boost share price returns if it pays off, but this debt risk is worth keeping in mind. There’s no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. Case in point: We’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Pekabex you should be aware of.

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.

Valuation is complex, but we’re helping make it simple.

Find out whether Pekabex 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button