- Oil and Gas
Paz Oil (TLV:PZOL) Takes On Some Risk With Its Use Of Debt
The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a 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. We can see that Paz Oil Company Ltd. (TLV:PZOL) does use debt in its business. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?
Why Does Debt Bring Risk?
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. In the worst case scenario, a company can go bankrupt if it cannot pay its creditors. 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. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.
Check out our latest analysis for Paz Oil
What Is Paz Oil's Debt?
The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at September 2022 Paz Oil had debt of ₪5.68b, up from ₪4.10b in one year. However, it also had ₪1.79b in cash, and so its net debt is ₪3.88b.
How Healthy Is Paz Oil's Balance Sheet?
The latest balance sheet data shows that Paz Oil had liabilities of ₪5.29b due within a year, and liabilities of ₪6.71b falling due after that. On the other hand, it had cash of ₪1.79b and ₪2.58b worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities total ₪7.62b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.
The deficiency here weighs heavily on the ₪3.78b 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 definitely think shareholders need to watch this one closely. At the end of the day, Paz Oil would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment.
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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.
Paz Oil's debt is 3.2 times its EBITDA, and its EBIT cover its interest expense 3.2 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. However, it should be some comfort for shareholders to recall that Paz Oil actually grew its EBIT by a hefty 312%, over the last 12 months. If that earnings trend continues it will make its debt load much more manageable in the future. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But it is Paz Oil's earnings that will influence how the balance sheet holds up in the future. So when considering debt, it's definitely worth looking at the earnings trend. Click here for an interactive snapshot.
But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. Over the last three years, Paz Oil actually produced more free cash flow than EBIT. That sort of strong cash conversion gets us as excited as the crowd when the beat drops at a Daft Punk concert.
While Paz Oil's level of total liabilities has us nervous. To wit both its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow and EBIT growth rate were encouraging signs. Looking at all the angles mentioned above, it does seem to us that Paz Oil is a somewhat risky investment as a result of its debt. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since leverage can boost returns on equity, but it is something to be aware of. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. We've identified 3 warning signs with Paz Oil (at least 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
At the end of the day, it's often better to focus on companies that are free from net debt. You can access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of profit growth). It's free.
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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.
Paz Oil Company Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, refines, produces, stores, imports, and markets fuel products in Israel and internationally.
Acceptable track record with mediocre balance sheet.