Is Brisbane Broncos Limited’s (ASX:BBL) Balance Sheet A Threat To Its Future?

Brisbane Broncos Limited (ASX:BBL), 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 BBL 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 BBL has outstanding financial strength. I will take you through a few basic checks to assess the financial health of companies with no debt.

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Is financial flexibility worth the 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. The lack of debt on BBL’s balance sheet may be because it does not have access to cheap capital, or it may believe this trade-off is not worth it. Choosing financial flexibility over capital returns make sense if BBL is a high-growth company. BBL delivered a negative revenue growth of -0.6%. 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.

ASX:BBL Historical Debt January 14th 19
ASX:BBL Historical Debt January 14th 19

Can BBL pay its short-term liabilities?

Since Brisbane Broncos 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. With current liabilities at AU$12m, it appears that the company has maintained a safe level of current assets to meet its obligations, with the current ratio last standing at 1.39x. Generally, for Entertainment companies, this is a reasonable ratio since there’s a sufficient cash cushion without leaving too much capital idle or in low-earning investments.

Next Steps:

As a high-growth company, it may be beneficial for BBL to have some financial flexibility, hence zero-debt. Since there is also no concerns around BBL’s liquidity needs, this may be its optimal capital structure for the time being. In the future, its financial position may change. I admit this is a fairly basic analysis for BBL’s financial health. Other important fundamentals need to be considered alongside. You should continue to research Brisbane Broncos to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

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