Stock Analysis

Here's Why PNE (ETR:PNE3) Can Afford Some Debt

XTRA:PNE3
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Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) 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 PNE AG (ETR:PNE3) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

When Is Debt Dangerous?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. 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.

See our latest analysis for PNE

What Is PNE's Net Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that PNE had €202.6m of debt in March 2023, down from €421.4m, one year before. On the flip side, it has €95.9m in cash leading to net debt of about €106.7m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
XTRA:PNE3 Debt to Equity History July 6th 2023

How Healthy Is PNE's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, PNE had liabilities of €129.6m due within 12 months, and liabilities of €546.2m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of €95.9m and €64.2m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by €515.5m.

This deficit isn't so bad because PNE is worth €1.02b, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine PNE's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

In the last year PNE's revenue was pretty flat, and it made a negative EBIT. While that hardly impresses, its not too bad either.

Caveat Emptor

Over the last twelve months PNE produced an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss. Indeed, it lost €3.1m at the EBIT level. When we look at that and recall the liabilities on its balance sheet, relative to cash, it seems unwise to us for the company to have any debt. Quite frankly we think the balance sheet is far from match-fit, although it could be improved with time. However, it doesn't help that it burned through €124m of cash over the last year. So in short it's a really risky stock. 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. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for PNE that you should be aware of.

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.

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

Find out whether PNE 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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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.