Does Cyfrowy Polsat (WSE:CPS) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 27, 2021
WSE:CPS
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.' So it seems the smart money knows that debt - which is usually involved in bankruptcies - is a very important factor, when you assess how risky a company is. As with many other companies Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. (WSE:CPS) makes use of debt. 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 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. 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. When we think about a company's use of debt, we first look at cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Cyfrowy Polsat

What Is Cyfrowy Polsat's Debt?

As you can see below, Cyfrowy Polsat had zł11.6b of debt, at June 2021, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, because it has a cash reserve of zł659.8m, its net debt is less, at about zł10.9b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
WSE:CPS Debt to Equity History September 28th 2021

How Strong Is Cyfrowy Polsat's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Cyfrowy Polsat had liabilities of zł5.86b due within 12 months, and liabilities of zł12.1b due beyond 12 months. Offsetting this, it had zł659.8m in cash and zł2.93b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities total zł14.4b more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This is a mountain of leverage relative to its market capitalization of zł20.9b. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.

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). The advantage of this approach is that we take into account both the absolute quantum of debt (with net debt to EBITDA) and the actual interest expenses associated with that debt (with its interest cover ratio).

Cyfrowy Polsat has net debt to EBITDA of 2.9 suggesting it uses a fair bit of leverage to boost returns. But the high interest coverage of 7.9 suggests it can easily service that debt. We note that Cyfrowy Polsat grew its EBIT by 27% in the last year, and that should make it easier to pay down debt, going forward. 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 Cyfrowy Polsat'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, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we always check how much of that EBIT is translated into free cash flow. During the last three years, Cyfrowy Polsat generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 100% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

Happily, Cyfrowy Polsat's impressive conversion of EBIT to free cash flow implies it has the upper hand on its debt. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its level of total liabilities. Looking at all the aforementioned factors together, it strikes us that Cyfrowy Polsat can handle its debt fairly comfortably. 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. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Cyfrowy Polsat (1 is a bit unpleasant) 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.

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.

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