Is Wirtualna Polska Holding (WSE:WPL) A Risky Investment?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 13, 2022
WSE:WPL
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.' 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. We note that Wirtualna Polska Holding S.A. (WSE:WPL) does have debt on its balance sheet. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

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, 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 Wirtualna Polska Holding

What Is Wirtualna Polska Holding's Debt?

As you can see below, Wirtualna Polska Holding had zł236.1m of debt at December 2021, down from zł355.4m a year prior. However, it also had zł135.4m in cash, and so its net debt is zł100.7m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
WSE:WPL Debt to Equity History April 13th 2022

How Strong Is Wirtualna Polska Holding's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, Wirtualna Polska Holding had liabilities of zł217.0m due within 12 months, and liabilities of zł302.6m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of zł135.4m and zł200.0m worth of receivables due within a year. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by zł184.2m.

Given Wirtualna Polska Holding has a market capitalization of zł3.29b, it's hard to believe these liabilities pose much threat. However, we do think it is worth keeping an eye on its balance sheet strength, as it may change over time.

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). This way, we consider both the absolute quantum of the debt, as well as the interest rates paid on it.

Wirtualna Polska Holding's net debt is only 0.35 times its EBITDA. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 21.5 times over. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. On top of that, Wirtualna Polska Holding grew its EBIT by 69% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its debt. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Wirtualna Polska Holding can strengthen its balance sheet over time. 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 we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last three years, Wirtualna Polska Holding generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 90% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That positions it well to pay down debt if desirable to do so.

Our View

The good news is that Wirtualna Polska Holding's demonstrated ability to cover its interest expense with its EBIT delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. And that's just the beginning of the good news since its conversion of EBIT to free cash flow is also very heartening. We think Wirtualna Polska Holding is no more beholden to its lenders, than the birds are to birdwatchers. To our minds it has a healthy happy balance sheet. 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. Be aware that Wirtualna Polska Holding is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

If, after all that, you're more interested in a fast growing company with a rock-solid balance sheet, then check out our list of net cash growth stocks without delay.

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