Are Shutterstock Inc’s (NYSE:SSTK) Interest Costs Too High?

Shutterstock Inc (NYSE:SSTK), 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 SSTK will have to follow strict debt obligations which will reduce its financial flexibility. While SSTK has no debt on its balance sheet, it doesn’t necessarily mean it exhibits financial strength. I will take you through a few basic checks to assess the financial health of companies with no debt.

See our latest analysis for Shutterstock

Is SSTK 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. Either SSTK 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. A revenue growth in the teens is not considered high-growth. SSTK’s revenue growth of 14% falls into this range. More capital can help the business grow faster. If SSTK is not expecting exceptional future growth, then the decision to avoid may cost shareholders in the long term.

NYSE:SSTK Historical Debt November 21st 18
NYSE:SSTK Historical Debt November 21st 18

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

Since Shutterstock 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. At the current liabilities level of US$227m, it seems that the business has been able to meet these commitments with a current assets level of US$281m, leading to a 1.24x current account ratio. Generally, for Online Retail 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:

SSTK 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. Going forward, its financial position may be different. This is only a rough assessment of financial health, and I’m sure SSTK has company-specific issues impacting its capital structure decisions. I suggest you continue to research Shutterstock to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SSTK’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SSTK’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is SSTK 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 SSTK is currently mispriced by the market.
  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.