Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. As with many other companies Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group Ltd (TLV:LUZN) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?
When Is Debt A Problem?
Generally speaking, debt only becomes a real problem when a company can't easily pay it off, either by raising capital or with its own cash flow. Ultimately, if the company can't fulfill its legal obligations to repay debt, shareholders could walk away with nothing. 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. Of course, plenty of companies use debt to fund growth, without any negative consequences. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.
What Is Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group's Net Debt?
As you can see below, Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group had ₪639.8m of debt at September 2021, down from ₪672.1m a year prior. However, it does have ₪323.3m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about ₪316.5m.
How Strong Is Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group's Balance Sheet?
We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group had liabilities of ₪591.3m falling due within a year, and liabilities of ₪503.3m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of ₪323.3m and ₪231.6m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling ₪539.7m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.
This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of ₪739.4m, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group's use of debt. This suggests shareholders would be heavily diluted if the company needed to shore up its balance sheet in a hurry.
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.
Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group's debt is 2.6 times its EBITDA, and its EBIT cover its interest expense 4.5 times over. Taken together this implies that, while we wouldn't want to see debt levels rise, we think it can handle its current leverage. It is well worth noting that Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group's EBIT shot up like bamboo after rain, gaining 33% in the last twelve months. That'll make it easier to manage its debt. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group'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 it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. There's nothing better than incoming cash when it comes to staying in your lenders' good graces.
The good news is that Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group's demonstrated ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its level of total liabilities. All these things considered, it appears that Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group can comfortably handle its current debt levels. Of course, while this leverage can enhance returns on equity, it does bring more risk, so it's worth keeping an eye on this one. 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. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Amos Luzon Development and Energy Group that you should be aware of before investing here.
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.
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.