Are Sandstorm Gold Ltd.’s (TSE:SSL) Interest Costs Too High?

The direct benefit for Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (TSE:SSL), which sports a zero-debt capital structure, to include debt in its capital structure is the reduced cost of capital. However, the trade-off is SSL will have to adhere to stricter debt covenants and have less financial flexibility. While SSL has no debt on its balance sheet, it doesn’t necessarily mean it exhibits financial strength. I recommend you look at the following hurdles to assess SSL’s financial health.

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Is SSL growing fast enough to value 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. The lack of debt on SSL’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 SSL is a high-growth company. A single-digit revenue growth of 2.7% for SSL is considerably low for a small-cap company. While its low growth hardly justifies opting for zero-debt, the company may have high growth projects in the pipeline to justify the trade-off.

TSX:SSL Historical Debt January 17th 19
TSX:SSL Historical Debt January 17th 19

Can SSL pay its short-term liabilities?

Given zero long-term debt on its balance sheet, Sandstorm Gold has no solvency issues, which is 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$4.8m, the company has maintained a safe level of current assets to meet its obligations, with the current ratio last standing at 5.46x. Having said that, many consider a ratio above 3x to be high, although this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Next Steps:

SSL 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, its financial position may be different. I admit this is a fairly basic analysis for SSL’s financial health. Other important fundamentals need to be considered alongside. I suggest you continue to research Sandstorm Gold to get a more holistic view of the stock by looking at:

  1. Valuation: What is SSL 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 SSL is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Historical Performance: What has SSL’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.