Stock Analysis

Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (MCX:NMTP) Seems To Use Debt Quite Sensibly

MISX:NMTP
Source: Shutterstock

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. As with many other companies Public Joint Stock Company Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (MCX:NMTP) makes use of debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

Debt and other liabilities become risky for a business when it cannot easily fulfill those obligations, either with free cash flow or by raising capital at an attractive price. 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. Of course, debt can be an important tool in businesses, particularly capital heavy businesses. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

View our latest analysis for Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port

What Is Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port's Debt?

You can click the graphic below for the historical numbers, but it shows that Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port had US$476.8m of debt in September 2021, down from US$702.8m, one year before. However, it also had US$291.9m in cash, and so its net debt is US$184.9m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
MISX:NMTP Debt to Equity History February 10th 2022

A Look At Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port's Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port had liabilities of US$293.0m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$655.0m due beyond 12 months. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$291.9m as well as receivables valued at US$60.3m due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling US$595.9m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

While this might seem like a lot, it is not so bad since Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port has a market capitalization of US$1.60b, and so it could probably strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital if it needed to. However, it is still worthwhile taking a close look at its ability to pay off debt.

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.

Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 0.45. And its EBIT covers its interest expense a whopping 11.3 times over. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. On the other hand, Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port saw its EBIT drop by 9.2% in the last twelve months. If earnings continue to decline at that rate the company may have increasing difficulty managing its debt load. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But you can't view debt in total isolation; since Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port 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.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last three years, Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port produced sturdy free cash flow equating to 62% of its EBIT, about what we'd expect. This cold hard cash means it can reduce its debt when it wants to.

Our View

Both Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port's ability to to cover its interest expense with its EBIT and its net debt to EBITDA gave us comfort that it can handle its debt. On the other hand, its EBIT growth rate makes us a little less comfortable about its debt. It's also worth noting that Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port is in the Infrastructure industry, which is often considered to be quite defensive. When we consider all the elements mentioned above, it seems to us that Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port is managing its debt quite well. Having said that, the load is sufficiently heavy that we would recommend any shareholders keep a close eye on it. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. However, not all investment risk resides within the balance sheet - far from it. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port that you should be aware of before investing here.

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

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

Find out whether Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

About MISX:NMTP

Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port

Public Joint Stock Company Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, together with its subsidiaries, provides stevedoring, port, and sea vessel services in Russia.

Excellent balance sheet and fair value.

Stock Analysis

No articles found