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Are Spero Therapeutics, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SPRO) Interest Costs Too High?

Saundra Reilly

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Spero Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPRO), 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 SPRO will have to follow strict debt obligations which will reduce its financial flexibility. Zero-debt can alleviate some risk associated with the company meeting debt obligations, but this doesn’t automatically mean SPRO has outstanding financial strength. I will take you through a few basic checks to assess the financial health of companies with no debt.

Check out our latest analysis for Spero Therapeutics

Does SPRO’s growth rate justify its decision for financial flexibility over lower cost of capital?

There are well-known benefits of including debt in capital structure, primarily a lower cost of capital. Though, the trade-offs are that lenders require stricter capital management requirements, in addition to having a higher claim on company assets relative to shareholders. SPRO’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. SPRO delivered a strikingly high triple-digit revenue growth 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.

NasdaqGS:SPRO Historical Debt, February 21st 2019

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

Since Spero Therapeutics 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. However, another measure of financial health is its short-term obligations, which is known as liquidity. These include payments to suppliers, employees and other stakeholders. At the current liabilities level of US$10m, the company has been able to meet these obligations given the level of current assets of US$134m, with a current ratio of 13.01x. Having said that, a ratio greater than 3x may be considered high by some.

Next Steps:

As a high-growth company, it may be beneficial for SPRO 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 SPRO’s financial health. Other important fundamentals need to be considered alongside. I suggest you continue to research Spero Therapeutics to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SPRO’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SPRO’s outlook.
  2. Historical Performance: What has SPRO’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.