Warren Buffett famously said, 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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 Magontec Limited (ASX:MGL) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?
What Risk Does Debt Bring?
Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. 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. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.
What Is Magontec's Net Debt?
As you can see below, Magontec had AU$11.5m of debt at December 2021, down from AU$16.6m a year prior. However, it does have AU$4.64m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about AU$6.89m.
How Strong Is Magontec's Balance Sheet?
The latest balance sheet data shows that Magontec had liabilities of AU$28.4m due within a year, and liabilities of AU$17.9m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of AU$4.64m as well as receivables valued at AU$21.2m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling AU$20.4m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.
This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of AU$32.2m, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Magontec's use of debt. 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.
Magontec has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.88. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 10.8 times the size. So we're pretty relaxed about its super-conservative use of debt. Better yet, Magontec grew its EBIT by 3,804% last year, which is an impressive improvement. If maintained that growth will make the debt even more manageable in the years ahead. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is Magontec's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. 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 company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Happily for any shareholders, Magontec actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT over the last two years. That sort of strong cash generation warms our hearts like a puppy in a bumblebee suit.
Happily, Magontec's impressive conversion of EBIT to free cash flow implies it has the upper hand on its debt. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its level of total liabilities. Looking at the bigger picture, we think Magontec'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. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Magontec you should be aware of.
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.
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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.
Magontec Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the research, development, manufacture, and sale of generic and specialist alloys in Asia, the Americas, Europe, and internationally.
Flawless balance sheet with outstanding track record.