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Is Westell Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:WSTL) A Financially Sound Company?

Tammie Asher

Westell Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:WSTL), 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 WSTL will have to follow strict debt obligations which will reduce its financial flexibility. While WSTL has no debt on its balance sheet, it doesn’t necessarily mean it exhibits financial strength. 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.

View our latest analysis for Westell Technologies

Does WSTL’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. However, the trade-off is debtholders’ higher claim on company assets in the event of liquidation and stringent obligations around capital management. WSTL’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. Opposite to the high growth we were expecting, WSTL’s negative revenue growth of -25% hardly justifies opting for zero-debt. If the decline sustains, it may find it hard to raise debt at an acceptable cost.

NasdaqCM:WSTL Historical Debt January 9th 19

Can WSTL pay its short-term liabilities?

Since Westell Technologies 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. At the current liabilities level of US$7.2m, the company has been able to meet these commitments with a current assets level of US$47m, leading to a 6.56x current account ratio. However, many consider a ratio above 3x to be high.

Next Steps:

WSTL is a fast-growing firm, which supports having have zero-debt and financial freedom to continue to ramp up growth. This may mean this is an optimal capital structure for the business, given that it is also meeting its short-term commitment. In the future, WSTL’s financial situation may change. I admit this is a fairly basic analysis for WSTL’s financial health. Other important fundamentals need to be considered alongside. I suggest you continue to research Westell Technologies to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

  1. Valuation: What is WSTL worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether WSTL is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Historical Performance: What has WSTL’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.

To help readers see past 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. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.