Are Spok Holdings, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SPOK) Interest Costs Too High?

Spok Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPOK), 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 SPOK will have to follow strict debt obligations which will reduce its financial flexibility. Zero-debt can alleviate some risk associated with the company meeting debt obligations, but this doesn’t automatically mean SPOK has outstanding financial strength. I will take you through a few basic checks to assess the financial health of companies with no debt.

View our latest analysis for Spok Holdings

Is financial flexibility worth the lower cost of capital?

There are well-known benefits of including debt in capital structure, primarily a lower cost of capital. However, the trade-off is debtholders’ higher claim on company assets in the event of liquidation and stringent obligations around capital management. The lack of debt on SPOK’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 SPOK is a high-growth company. Opposite to the high growth we were expecting, SPOK’s negative revenue growth of -0.9% hardly justifies opting for zero-debt. If the decline sustains, it may find it hard to raise debt at an acceptable cost.

NasdaqGS:SPOK Historical Debt December 21st 18
NasdaqGS:SPOK Historical Debt December 21st 18

Can SPOK pay its short-term liabilities?

Since Spok Holdings 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. 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. Looking at SPOK’s US$51m in current liabilities, the company has been able to meet these obligations given the level of current assets of US$139m, with a current ratio of 2.73x. Usually, for Wireless Telecom companies, this is a suitable ratio since there’s a sufficient cash cushion without leaving too much capital idle or in low-earning investments.

Next Steps:

SPOK 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 SPOK’s liquidity needs, this may be its optimal capital structure for the time being. In the future, its financial position may be different. Keep in mind I haven’t considered other factors such as how SPOK has been performing in the past. I recommend you continue to research Spok Holdings to get a more holistic view of the stock by looking at:

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