How Financially Strong Is Principia Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ:PRNB)?

The direct benefit for Principia Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ:PRNB), 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 PRNB will have to adhere to stricter debt covenants and have less 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 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 Principia Biopharma

Is financial flexibility worth the lower cost of capital?

Debt capital generally has lower cost of capital compared to equity funding. However, the trade-off is debtholders’ higher claim on company assets in the event of liquidation and stringent obligations around capital management. Either PRNB 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. PRNB’s revenue growth over the past year was an impressively high triple-digit rate, so it is acceptable that the company is opting for a zero-debt capital structure currently as it may need to raise debt to fuel expansion in the future.

NasdaqGS:PRNB Historical Debt December 14th 18
NasdaqGS:PRNB Historical Debt December 14th 18

Does PRNB’s liquid assets cover its short-term commitments?

Given zero long-term debt on its balance sheet, Principia Biopharma 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. With current liabilities at US$32m, it seems that the business has maintained a safe level of current assets to meet its obligations, with the current ratio last standing at 6.05x. However, a ratio above 3x may be considered excessive by some investors.

Next Steps:

Having no debt on the books means PRNB has more financial freedom to keep growing at its current fast rate. This may mean this is an optimal capital structure for the business, given that it is also meeting its short-term commitment. Going forward, its financial position may be different. Keep in mind I haven’t considered other factors such as how PRNB has been performing in the past. I recommend you continue to research Principia Biopharma to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

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