Is Podravka d.d (ZGSE:PODR) Using Too Much Debt?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 26, 2021
ZGSE:PODR
Source: Shutterstock

David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the permanent loss of capital.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. Importantly, Podravka d.d. (ZGSE:PODR) does carry debt. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. If things get really bad, the lenders can take control of the business. However, a more frequent (but still costly) occurrence is where a company must issue shares at bargain-basement prices, permanently diluting shareholders, just to shore up its balance sheet. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Podravka d.d

What Is Podravka d.d's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that Podravka d.d had debt of Kn641.2m at the end of March 2021, a reduction from Kn921.8m over a year. On the flip side, it has Kn178.1m in cash leading to net debt of about Kn463.1m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ZGSE:PODR Debt to Equity History May 27th 2021

How Healthy Is Podravka d.d's Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Podravka d.d had liabilities of Kn1.15b due within 12 months and liabilities of Kn437.8m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of Kn178.1m and Kn1.03b worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling Kn372.5m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

Of course, Podravka d.d has a market capitalization of Kn4.15b, 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.

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 0.92 and interest cover of 5.5 times, it seems to us that Podravka d.d 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. We saw Podravka d.d grow its EBIT by 2.8% in the last twelve months. Whilst that hardly knocks our socks off it is a positive when it comes to debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Podravka d.d's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you want to see what the professionals think, you might find this free report on analyst profit forecasts to be interesting.

Finally, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt; accounting profits just don't cut it. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the most recent three years, Podravka d.d recorded free cash flow worth 73% of its EBIT, which is around normal, given free cash flow excludes interest and tax. This free cash flow puts the company in a good position to pay down debt, when appropriate.

Our View

Happily, Podravka d.d's impressive conversion of EBIT to free cash flow implies it has the upper hand on its debt. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its net debt to EBITDA is also very heartening. Taking all this data into account, it seems to us that Podravka d.d takes a pretty sensible approach to debt. While that brings some risk, it can also enhance returns for shareholders. Above most other metrics, we think its important to track how fast earnings per share is growing, if at all. If you've also come to that realization, you're in luck, because today you can view this interactive graph of Podravka d.d's earnings per share history for free.

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.

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