What does Pixelworks, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:PXLW) Balance Sheet Tell Us About Its Future?

Pixelworks, Inc. (NASDAQ:PXLW), 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 PXLW will have to follow strict debt obligations which will reduce its 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 take you through a few basic checks to assess the financial health of companies with no debt.

See our latest analysis for Pixelworks

Does PXLW’s growth rate justify its decision for financial flexibility over lower cost of capital?

Debt funding can be cheaper than issuing new equity due to lower interest cost on debt. Though, the trade-offs are that lenders require stricter capital management requirements, in addition to having a higher claim on company assets relative to shareholders. PXLW’s absence of debt on its balance sheet may be due to lack of access to cheaper capital, or it may simply believe low cost is not worth sacrificing financial flexibility. However, choosing flexibility over capital returns is logical only if it’s a high-growth company. PXLW delivered a negative revenue growth of -4.7%. 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.

NasdaqGM:PXLW Historical Debt December 21st 18
NasdaqGM:PXLW Historical Debt December 21st 18

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

Given zero long-term debt on its balance sheet, Pixelworks has no solvency issues, which is used to describe the company’s ability to meet its long-term obligations. However, another measure of financial health is its short-term obligations, which is known as liquidity. These include payments to suppliers, employees and other stakeholders. With current liabilities at US$16m, the company has maintained a safe level of current assets to meet its obligations, with the current ratio last standing at 2.14x. Usually, for Semiconductor companies, this is a suitable ratio as there’s enough of a cash buffer without holding too much capital in low return investments.

Next Steps:

PXLW is a fast-growing firm, which supports having have zero-debt and financial freedom to continue to ramp up growth. Since there is also no concerns around PXLW’s liquidity needs, this may be its optimal capital structure for the time being. Moving forward, its financial position may change. This is only a rough assessment of financial health, and I’m sure PXLW has company-specific issues impacting its capital structure decisions. I recommend you continue to research Pixelworks to get a more holistic view of the stock by looking at:

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