We Think MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság (BUSE:MOL) Is Taking Some Risk With Its Debt

By
Simply Wall St
Published
July 01, 2021
BUSE:MOL
Source: Shutterstock

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.' 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, MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság (BUSE:MOL) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

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 usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság

How Much Debt Does MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság Carry?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság had Ft1.05t of debt in March 2021, down from Ft1.39t, one year before. On the flip side, it has Ft191.0b in cash leading to net debt of about Ft857.3b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
BUSE:MOL Debt to Equity History July 1st 2021

How Strong Is MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság had liabilities of Ft1.54t falling due within a year, and liabilities of Ft1.67t due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of Ft191.0b and Ft689.9b worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling Ft2.33t more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

The deficiency here weighs heavily on the Ft1.49t company itself, as if a child were struggling under the weight of an enormous back-pack full of books, his sports gear, and a trumpet. So we'd watch its balance sheet closely, without a doubt. After all, MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság would likely require a major re-capitalisation if it had to pay its creditors today.

We measure a company's debt load relative to its earnings power by looking at its net debt divided by its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and by calculating how easily its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) cover its interest expense (interest cover). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság has a low debt to EBITDA ratio of only 1.4. And remarkably, despite having net debt, it actually received more in interest over the last twelve months than it had to pay. So it's fair to say it can handle debt like a hotshot teppanyaki chef handles cooking. The modesty of its debt load may become crucial for MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság if management cannot prevent a repeat of the 30% cut to EBIT over the last year. Falling earnings (if the trend continues) could eventually make even modest debt quite risky. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság'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.

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. Over the most recent three years, MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság recorded free cash flow worth 51% 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

On the face of it, MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság's level of total liabilities left us tentative about the stock, and its EBIT growth rate was no more enticing than the one empty restaurant on the busiest night of the year. But on the bright side, its interest cover is a good sign, and makes us more optimistic. We're quite clear that we consider MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság to be really rather risky, as a result of its balance sheet health. So we're almost as wary of this stock as a hungry kitten is about falling into its owner's fish pond: once bitten, twice shy, as they say. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Muködo Részvénytársaság you should know about.

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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