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Is Electro-Sensors, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:ELSE) Balance Sheet Strong Enough To Weather A Storm?

Daisy Mock

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Electro-Sensors, Inc. (NASDAQ:ELSE), which has zero-debt on its balance sheet, can maximize capital returns by increasing debt due to its lower cost of capital. However, the trade-off is ELSE will have to follow strict debt obligations which will reduce its financial flexibility. While zero-debt makes the due diligence for potential investors less nerve-racking, it poses a new question: how should they assess the financial strength of such companies? I will go over a basic overview of the stock’s financial health, which I believe provides a ballpark estimate of their financial health status.

Check out our latest analysis for Electro-Sensors

Is financial flexibility worth the lower cost of capital?

Debt capital generally has lower cost of capital compared to equity funding. But the downside of having debt in a company’s balance sheet is the debtholder’s higher claim on its assets in the case of liquidation, as well as stricter capital management requirements. ELSE’s absence of debt on its balance sheet may be due to lack of access to cheaper capital, or it may simply believe low cost is not worth sacrificing financial flexibility. However, choosing flexibility over capital returns is logical only if it’s a high-growth company. ELSE delivered a negative revenue growth of -3.6%. While its negative growth hardly justifies opting for zero-debt, if the decline sustains, it may find it hard to raise debt at an acceptable cost.

NasdaqCM:ELSE Historical Debt, February 21st 2019

Does ELSE’s liquid assets cover its short-term commitments?

Given zero long-term debt on its balance sheet, Electro-Sensors has no solvency issues, which is used to describe the company’s ability to meet its long-term obligations. But another important aspect of financial health is liquidity: the company’s ability to meet short-term obligations, including payments to suppliers and employees. At the current liabilities level of US$618k, it appears that the company has been able to meet these obligations given the level of current assets of US$11m, with a current ratio of 18.51x. Having said that, a ratio greater than 3x may be considered high by some.

Next Steps:

ELSE is a fast-growing firm, which supports having have zero-debt and financial freedom to continue to ramp up growth. Since there is also no concerns around ELSE’s liquidity needs, this may be its optimal capital structure for the time being. Moving forward, its financial position may change. Keep in mind I haven’t considered other factors such as how ELSE has been performing in the past. You should continue to research Electro-Sensors to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for ELSE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ELSE’s outlook.
  2. Historical Performance: What has ELSE’s returns been like over the past? Go into more detail in the past track record analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of our analysis for more clarity.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.