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Is Biotron Limited’s (ASX:BIT) Balance Sheet A Threat To Its Future?

Biotron Limited (ASX:BIT), 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 BIT 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 BIT’s financial health.

View our latest analysis for Biotron

Is BIT right in choosing financial flexibility over lower cost of capital?

Debt funding can be cheaper than issuing new equity due to lower interest cost on debt. 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. Either BIT does not have access to cheap capital, or it may believe this trade-off is not worth it. This makes sense only if the company has a competitive edge and is growing fast off its equity capital. BIT delivered a negative revenue growth of -2.2%. 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.

ASX:BIT Historical Debt November 30th 18

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

Since Biotron 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. Looking at BIT’s AU$338k in current liabilities, it appears that the company has maintained a safe level of current assets to meet its obligations, with the current ratio last standing at 4.74x. However, a ratio above 3x may be considered excessive by some investors.

Next Steps:

Having no debt on the books means BIT has more financial freedom to keep growing at its current fast rate. Since there is also no concerns around BIT’s liquidity needs, this may be its optimal capital structure for the time being. In the future, its financial position may be different. This is only a rough assessment of financial health, and I’m sure BIT has company-specific issues impacting its capital structure decisions. I recommend you continue to research Biotron to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

  1. Historical Performance: What has BIT’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.
  2. 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.