Stock Analysis

Does OMV Petrom (BVB:SNP) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

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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 note that OMV Petrom S.A. (BVB:SNP) does have debt on its balance sheet. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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. 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. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for OMV Petrom

What Is OMV Petrom's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that OMV Petrom had RON132.1m of debt in March 2023, down from RON252.6m, one year before. However, it does have RON19.1b in cash offsetting this, leading to net cash of RON19.0b.

BVB:SNP Debt to Equity History June 30th 2023

How Strong Is OMV Petrom's Balance Sheet?

According to the last reported balance sheet, OMV Petrom had liabilities of RON8.66b due within 12 months, and liabilities of RON8.99b due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of RON19.1b and RON2.61b worth of receivables due within a year. So it actually has RON4.06b more liquid assets than total liabilities.

This short term liquidity is a sign that OMV Petrom could probably pay off its debt with ease, as its balance sheet is far from stretched. Simply put, the fact that OMV Petrom has more cash than debt is arguably a good indication that it can manage its debt safely.

Even more impressive was the fact that OMV Petrom grew its EBIT by 104% over twelve months. If maintained that growth will make the debt even more manageable in the years ahead. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if OMV Petrom 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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. OMV Petrom may have net cash on the balance sheet, but it is still interesting to look at how well the business converts its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to free cash flow, because that will influence both its need for, and its capacity to manage debt. During the last three years, OMV Petrom generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 97% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Summing Up

While it is always sensible to investigate a company's debt, in this case OMV Petrom has RON19.0b in net cash and a decent-looking balance sheet. The cherry on top was that in converted 97% of that EBIT to free cash flow, bringing in RON9.8b. So is OMV Petrom's debt a risk? It doesn't seem so to us. 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. These risks can be hard to spot. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for OMV Petrom (of which 1 is concerning!) 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

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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.