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Is Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PIRS) As Financially Strong As Its Balance Sheet Indicates?

Jacob Boyd

Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PIRS), 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 PIRS 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 recommend you look at the following hurdles to assess PIRS’s financial health. See our latest analysis for Pieris Pharmaceuticals

Is PIRS right in choosing financial flexibility over 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. PIRS’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. PIRS delivered a strikingly high revenue growth of 98.87% over the past year. Therefore, the company’s decision to choose financial flexibility is justified as it may need headroom to borrow in the future to sustain high growth.

NasdaqCM:PIRS Historical Debt Feb 2nd 18

Can PIRS pay its short-term liabilities?

Since Pieris Pharmaceuticals doesn’t have any debt on its balance sheet, it doesn’t have any solvency issues, which is a term 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. Looking at PIRS’s most recent $8.4M liabilities, it seems that the business has been able to meet these commitments with a current assets level of $32.7M, leading to a 3.9x current account ratio. Though, a ratio greater than 3x may be considered as too high, as PIRS could be holding too much capital in a low-return investment environment.

Next Steps:

As a high-growth company, it may be beneficial for PIRS to have some financial flexibility, hence zero-debt. This may mean this is an optimal capital structure for the business, given that it is also meeting its short-term commitment. Going forward, its financial position may be different. I admit this is a fairly basic analysis for PIRS’s financial health. Other important fundamentals need to be considered alongside. I suggest you continue to research Pieris Pharmaceuticals to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

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.