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Does Fluidigm Corporation’s (FLDM) Debt Level Pose A Serious Problem?

Blake Harford

While small-cap stocks, such as Fluidigm Corporation (NASDAQ:FLDM) with its market cap of USD $169.72M, are popular for their explosive growth, investors should also be aware of their balance sheet to judge whether the company can survive a downturn. The significance of doing due diligence on a company’s financial strength stems from the fact that over 20,000 companies go bankrupt in every quarter in the US alone. These factors make a basic understanding of a company’s financial position of utmost importance for a potential investor. Here are a few basic checks that are good enough to have a broad overview of the company’s financial strength. Check out our latest analysis for Fluidigm

Does FLDM generate enough cash through operations?

NasdaqGS:FLDM Historical Debt Nov 1st 17
NasdaqGS:FLDM Historical Debt Nov 1st 17

Unxpected adverse events, such as natural disasters and wars, can be a true test of a company’s capacity to meet its obligations. These adverse events bring devastation and yet does not absolve the company from its debt. Can FLDM pay off what it owes to its debtholder by using only cash from its operational activities? FLDM’s recent operating cash flow was -0.21 times its debt within the past year. This means what FLDM can generate on an annual basis, which is currently a negative value, does not cover what it actually owes its debtors in the near term. This raises a red flag, looking at FLDM’s operations at this point in time.

Can FLDM meet its short-term obligations with the cash in hand?

What about its commitments to other stakeholders such as payments to suppliers and employees? As cash flow from operation is hindered by adverse events, FLDM may need to liquidate its short-term assets to meet these upcoming payments. We should examine if the company’s cash and short-term investment levels match its current liabilities. Our analysis shows that FLDM does have enough liquid assets on hand to meet its upcoming liabilities, which lowers our concerns should adverse events arise.

Can FLDM service its debt comfortably?

While ideally the debt-to equity ratio of a financially healthy company should be less than 40%, several factors such as industry life-cycle and economic conditions can result in a company raising a significant amount of debt. For FLDM, the debt-to-equity ratio stands at above 100%, which indicates that the company is holding a high level of debt relative to its net worth. In the event of financial turmoil, the company may experience difficulty meeting interest and other debt obligations.

Next Steps:

Are you a shareholder? FLDM’s debt and cash flow levels indicate room for improvement. Its cash flow coverage of less than a quarter of debt means that operating efficiency could be an issue. However, its high liquidity ensures the company will continue to operate smoothly should unfavourable circumstances arise. Given that its financial position may change. I suggest keeping on top of market expectations for FLDM’s future growth on our free analysis platform.

Are you a potential investor? FLDM’s high debt levels is not met with high cash flow coverage. This leaves room for improvement in terms of debt management and operational efficiency. Though, the company will be able to pay all of its upcoming liabilities from its current short-term assets. I encourage you to continue your research by taking a look at FLDM’s past performance analysis on our free platform in order to determine for yourself whether its debt position is justified.

To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.