Stock Analysis

Par Pacific Holdings (NYSE:PARR) Has A Pretty Healthy Balance Sheet

Published
NYSE:PARR
Source: Shutterstock

Some say volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to think about risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' 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. Importantly, Par Pacific Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:PARR) does carry debt. But should shareholders be worried about its use of debt?

When Is Debt A Problem?

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. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. However, a more usual (but still expensive) situation is where a company must dilute shareholders at a cheap share price simply to get debt under control. 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 examine debt levels, we first consider both cash and debt levels, together.

View our latest analysis for Par Pacific Holdings

How Much Debt Does Par Pacific Holdings Carry?

The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2023 Par Pacific Holdings had debt of US$927.3m, up from US$507.8m in one year. However, because it has a cash reserve of US$191.0m, its net debt is less, at about US$736.3m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NYSE:PARR Debt to Equity History November 9th 2023

How Strong Is Par Pacific Holdings' Balance Sheet?

The latest balance sheet data shows that Par Pacific Holdings had liabilities of US$1.77b due within a year, and liabilities of US$920.7m falling due after that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$191.0m as well as receivables valued at US$402.1m due within 12 months. So its liabilities outweigh the sum of its cash and (near-term) receivables by US$2.10b.

When you consider that this deficiency exceeds the company's US$1.98b market capitalization, you might well be inclined to review the balance sheet intently. In the scenario where the company had to clean up its balance sheet quickly, it seems likely shareholders would suffer extensive dilution.

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

Par Pacific Holdings has a low net debt to EBITDA ratio of only 1.0. And its EBIT easily covers its interest expense, being 11.8 times the size. So you could argue it is no more threatened by its debt than an elephant is by a mouse. In addition to that, we're happy to report that Par Pacific Holdings has boosted its EBIT by 72%, thus reducing the spectre of future debt repayments. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But it is future earnings, more than anything, that will determine Par Pacific Holdings's ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet going forward. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

Finally, while the tax-man may adore accounting profits, lenders only accept cold hard cash. So we clearly need to look at whether that EBIT is leading to corresponding free cash flow. During the last two years, Par Pacific Holdings generated free cash flow amounting to a very robust 94% of its EBIT, more than we'd expect. That puts it in a very strong position to pay down debt.

Our View

The good news is that Par Pacific Holdings's demonstrated ability to convert EBIT to free cash flow delights us like a fluffy puppy does a toddler. But the stark truth is that we are concerned by its level of total liabilities. When we consider the range of factors above, it looks like Par Pacific Holdings is pretty sensible with its use of debt. While that brings some risk, it can also enhance returns for shareholders. 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 3 warning signs with Par Pacific Holdings (at least 1 which shouldn't be ignored) , 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.

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

Find out whether Par Pacific Holdings 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.