Stock Analysis

Would Streamline Health Solutions (NASDAQ:STRM) Be Better Off With Less Debt?

NasdaqCM:STRM
Source: Shutterstock

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility of prices, but whether you will suffer a permanent loss of capital.' It's only natural to consider a company's balance sheet when you examine how risky it is, since debt is often involved when a business collapses. We note that Streamline Health Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:STRM) does have debt on its balance sheet. But the real question is whether this debt is making the company risky.

Why Does Debt Bring Risk?

Debt assists a business until the business has trouble paying it off, either with new capital or with free cash flow. Part and parcel of capitalism is the process of 'creative destruction' where failed businesses are mercilessly liquidated by their bankers. However, a more common (but still painful) scenario is that it has to raise new equity capital at a low price, thus permanently diluting shareholders. Of course, the upside of debt is that it often represents cheap capital, especially when it replaces dilution in a company with the ability to reinvest at high rates of return. The first step when considering a company's debt levels is to consider its cash and debt together.

See our latest analysis for Streamline Health Solutions

How Much Debt Does Streamline Health Solutions Carry?

As you can see below, Streamline Health Solutions had US$9.62m of debt, at April 2023, which is about the same as the year before. You can click the chart for greater detail. However, it does have US$5.99m in cash offsetting this, leading to net debt of about US$3.63m.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqCM:STRM Debt to Equity History September 7th 2023

How Healthy Is Streamline Health Solutions' Balance Sheet?

Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Streamline Health Solutions had liabilities of US$14.4m due within 12 months and liabilities of US$8.99m due beyond that. Offsetting these obligations, it had cash of US$5.99m as well as receivables valued at US$4.82m due within 12 months. So its liabilities total US$12.6m more than the combination of its cash and short-term receivables.

This deficit isn't so bad because Streamline Health Solutions is worth US$61.3m, and thus could probably raise enough capital to shore up its balance sheet, if the need arose. But it's clear that we should definitely closely examine whether it can manage its debt without dilution. There's no doubt that we learn most about debt from the balance sheet. But ultimately the future profitability of the business will decide if Streamline Health Solutions can strengthen its balance sheet over time. So if you're focused on the future you can check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

Over 12 months, Streamline Health Solutions reported revenue of US$24m, which is a gain of 19%, although it did not report any earnings before interest and tax. We usually like to see faster growth from unprofitable companies, but each to their own.

Caveat Emptor

Importantly, Streamline Health Solutions had an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss over the last year. Indeed, it lost a very considerable US$11m at the EBIT level. Considering that alongside the liabilities mentioned above does not give us much confidence that company should be using so much debt. So we think its balance sheet is a little strained, though not beyond repair. Another cause for caution is that is bled US$7.6m in negative free cash flow over the last twelve months. So in short it's a really risky stock. The balance sheet is clearly the area to focus on when you are analysing debt. But ultimately, every company can contain risks that exist outside of the balance sheet. To that end, you should learn about the 4 warning signs we've spotted with Streamline Health Solutions (including 1 which is a bit unpleasant) .

When all is said and done, sometimes its easier to focus on companies that don't even need debt. Readers can access a list of growth stocks with zero net debt 100% free, right now.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Streamline Health Solutions is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.