It would be pretty difficult for a company to go out of business if it is debt free, compared with companies that are heavily encumbered with loans. If you are able to buy a stock for less than the book value, that is even better. The book value is, in very simple terms, all assets minus all liabilities, divided by the number of shares. In other words, if the company went out of business today and was able to liquidate everything immediately, what each shareholder would receive.
However, an even better buy would be if you could buy the company's stock for less than the amount of cash it has for each share. It may be hard to believe, but there are over 15 stocks trading at less than the cash per share, according to the latest list of Stocks Selling Below Cash per Share at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.
One example is Amtech Systems Inc. (ASYS), a Tempe, Arizona based company which manufactures and markets the capital equipment used in the manufacture of wafers, primarily for the semiconductor and solar industries. This debt-free company, which closed at 3.31 on Friday, is selling way below its book value of 10.90, and about a 25% discount to the amount of cash per share of 4.47. Net revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 was $24.3 million, up 13% from $21.6 million for the preceding quarter. The net loss for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 was $3 million or a loss of $0.31 per share compared to a net loss of $5.1 million or $0.54 per share in the preceding quarter.
If you trust the financials from Chinese based companies, you may want to take a look at UTStarcom Holdings Corp. (UTSI), a Beijing, China based business which makes and markets Internet protocol-based telecommunications infrastructure products to telecommunications service providers. Customers are based in China, Japan, India, the United States, Latin America, and Europe. The stock trades at 25.8 times earnings, and based on its closing price on Friday of 1.03, is selling at an approximately 45% discount to the cash per share of 1.86. During July and August, the company repurchased $2.2 million of its shares as part of its ongoing $20 million share repurchase program that was launched in August 2011. The company has no debt.
O2Micro International Ltd. (OIIM) is a debt-free Cayman Islands based company involved in the creation and selling of integrated circuits for power management and e-commerce components and systems. The stock closed at 3.74, which is at a discount to its cash per share of 3.83, and way below the book value of 5.36.
For a free list of all the debt-free stocks selling below cash, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com. The list can be downloaded, sorted, and updated.
Disclosure: Author didn't own any of the above at the time that article was written.