Stock Analysis

Does Nizhnekamskneftekhim (MCX:NKNC) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

MISX:NKNC
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Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' So it might be obvious that you need to consider debt, when you think about how risky any given stock is, because too much debt can sink a company. As with many other companies Public Joint Stock Company Nizhnekamskneftekhim (MCX:NKNC) makes use of debt. But the more important question is: how much risk is that debt creating?

What Risk Does Debt Bring?

Debt is a tool to help businesses grow, but if a business is incapable of paying off its lenders, then it exists at their mercy. 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. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Nizhnekamskneftekhim

What Is Nizhnekamskneftekhim's Debt?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2021 Nizhnekamskneftekhim had debt of ₽104.5b, up from ₽73.7b in one year. However, it does have ₽29.1b in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about ₽75.4b.

debt-equity-history-analysis
MISX:NKNC Debt to Equity History September 26th 2021

How Healthy Is Nizhnekamskneftekhim's Balance Sheet?

We can see from the most recent balance sheet that Nizhnekamskneftekhim had liabilities of ₽22.5b falling due within a year, and liabilities of ₽111.8b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had ₽29.1b in cash and ₽17.7b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by ₽87.5b.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has a market capitalization of ₽240.0b, so it could very likely raise cash to ameliorate its balance sheet, if the need arose. But we definitely want to keep our eyes open to indications that its debt is bringing too much risk.

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).

Nizhnekamskneftekhim's net debt to EBITDA ratio of about 1.6 suggests only moderate use of debt. And its strong interest cover of 1k times, makes us even more comfortable. Better yet, Nizhnekamskneftekhim grew its EBIT by 105% last year, which is an impressive improvement. That boost will make it even easier to pay down debt going forward. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Nizhnekamskneftekhim will need earnings to service that debt. 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.

But our final consideration is also important, because a company cannot pay debt with paper profits; it needs cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last three years, Nizhnekamskneftekhim burned a lot of cash. While investors are no doubt expecting a reversal of that situation in due course, it clearly does mean its use of debt is more risky.

Our View

Nizhnekamskneftekhim's conversion of EBIT to free cash flow was a real negative on this analysis, although the other factors we considered were considerably better. There's no doubt that its ability to to cover its interest expense with its EBIT is pretty flash. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that Nizhnekamskneftekhim is managing its debt quite well. But a word of caution: we think debt levels are high enough to justify ongoing monitoring. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. For instance, we've identified 5 warning signs for Nizhnekamskneftekhim (2 make us uncomfortable) 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.

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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.
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About MISX:NKNC

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

Public Joint Stock Company Nizhnekamskneftekhim produces and sells petrochemicals in Russia.

Good value with mediocre balance sheet.

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