We Think Golden Energy and Resources (SGX:AUE) Can Stay On Top Of Its Debt

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 14, 2021
SGX:AUE
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 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. Importantly, Golden Energy and Resources Limited (SGX:AUE) does carry debt. But is this debt a concern to shareholders?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. While that is not too common, we often do see indebted companies permanently diluting shareholders because lenders force them to raise capital at a distressed price. Having said that, the most common situation is where a company manages its debt reasonably well - and to its own advantage. The first thing to do when considering how much debt a business uses is to look at its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Golden Energy and Resources

How Much Debt Does Golden Energy and Resources Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2021 Golden Energy and Resources had debt of US$406.8m, up from US$359.7m in one year. However, it also had US$249.8m in cash, and so its net debt is US$157.0m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
SGX:AUE Debt to Equity History December 14th 2021

A Look At Golden Energy and Resources' Liabilities

According to the last reported balance sheet, Golden Energy and Resources had liabilities of US$368.8m due within 12 months, and liabilities of US$492.8m due beyond 12 months. On the other hand, it had cash of US$249.8m and US$194.5m worth of receivables due within a year. So it has liabilities totalling US$417.2m more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

This deficit is considerable relative to its market capitalization of US$535.1m, so it does suggest shareholders should keep an eye on Golden Energy and Resources' use of debt. Should its lenders demand that it shore up the balance sheet, shareholders would likely face severe dilution.

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). Thus we consider debt relative to earnings both with and without depreciation and amortization expenses.

Looking at its net debt to EBITDA of 0.71 and interest cover of 6.0 times, it seems to us that Golden Energy and Resources is probably using debt in a pretty reasonable way. So we'd recommend keeping a close eye on the impact financing costs are having on the business. Importantly, Golden Energy and Resources grew its EBIT by 74% over the last twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to handle its debt. When analysing debt levels, the balance sheet is the obvious place to start. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Golden Energy and Resources can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

Finally, a company can only pay off debt with cold hard cash, not accounting profits. So it's worth checking how much of that EBIT is backed by free cash flow. Over the last three years, Golden Energy and Resources recorded free cash flow worth a fulsome 85% of its EBIT, which is stronger than we'd usually expect. That positions it well to pay down debt if desirable to do so.

Our View

The good news is that Golden Energy and Resources's demonstrated ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But, on a more sombre note, we are a little concerned by its level of total liabilities. When we consider the range of factors above, it looks like Golden Energy and Resources is pretty sensible with its use of debt. That means they are taking on a bit more risk, in the hope of boosting shareholder returns. 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. We've identified 2 warning signs with Golden Energy and Resources (at least 1 which is a bit concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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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