Monday, May 07, 2018

Stocks Selling Below Cash Per Share and Little Debt

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Do you think a return of 40% over a period of less than three years is pretty good? How about 157%? Those are the actual returns of stocks that you could have bought less than three years ago that were selling for less than the cash per share.

What is cash per share?

In simple terms, cash per share is the amount of cash the company has sitting in the banks divided by the number of shares. So if the company has little or no debt, and you can buy the stock below the amount of cash per share, you are getting a bargain. If the company went out of business today and all the inventory and equipment and all other assets were totally worthless, you would still make a profit because the cash you would receive for each share would exceed the price you paid.

Real Life Examples of Stocks that were Selling Below Cash

Let’s get back to those real life examples mentioned in the first paragraph of this article. MEI Pharma (MEIP) is an oncology company focused on the clinical development of therapeutics to treat cancer. Back in November of 2015, the stock was selling for 1.64, yet it had cash per share of 1.70, providing a discount to investors of 3.5% to the cash. Since that time, the stock has risen to 2.31, a gain of 40.85%. Not a bad investment for less than three years. Then there is (SPRT), a provider of cloud-based software and services. In November 2015, it was trading at 1.09, with cash per share of 1.25, a 12.8% discount to cash. The stock has now shot up to 2.81, a spectacular gain of 157.8%.

But what about companies that have a reverse split?

This is a great question. Let’s look at bebe (BEBE), the women’s clothing company, over the same time frame as the previously mentioned stocks. It was trading at a 22.6% discount to cash. Back then, the stock was trading at 0.41 per share, but the company had a 10 for 1 reverse split in December of 2016. What this meant was that for every 10 shares that you own prior to the split, you would now only have one share. So the effective cost basis of the original purchase price would be 4.10. The stock just closed last Friday at 7.00 per share, giving investors a 70.7% return. (To clarify this, assume you buy 1,000 shares at 41 cents, for a total cost of $410. The reverse split takes place, you now only have 100 shares at 7.00 or $7.00 total value, a gain of over 70%.)

Does the stock need to trade at a huge discount to make money?

Absolutely not. Here is a great example. GenCorp Industries (GENC) traded at a 0.1% discount to cash back then, actually one penny below the cash per share. The stock has gone from 10.18 to 15.50 a share, a very decent gain. But that’s not all. The stock declared a 3 for 2 stock split (what I call a “good stock split”) in July of 2016, which was effectively a 50% stock dividend. In other words, one and a half shares for every one share that you own. So the true gain on this stock from November 2015 is an incredible 128.3%.

Risks of Buying Below Cash Stocks

  • Possibility that the company is what we used to call the “walking dead” and what we now call “zombies”. These are companies that will continue to stumble along, never really grow but never go out of business, and they’ll just hold on to all their cash
  • Possibility that management may spend the company’s cash like a drunken sailor.
  • For biotech companies, the possibility that they will burn all their cash before they come out with an FDA approved drug

Advantages of Buying Below Cash Stocks

  • Provides a downside cushion for the stock price
  • In the event of bankruptcy or liquidation, excellent chance of getting back more money than your investment
  • Provides the company with a solid balance sheet – they can easily make payroll, buy new equipment, make acquisitions, without having to borrow

But the stock market is trading at lofty levels

Are there still stocks that can be purchased for less than cash per share? Yes, there are actually over a dozen different companies with stock prices below cash per share with little or no debt.

So what are some other companies selling below cash? has come up with a list of over a dozen companies that are currently trading below their cash per share, and have little or no debt. If you are interested in getting this list, just subscribe to our newsletter. We will be emailing the list in an Excel format to all subscribers who have subscribed by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, May 8. The list, which will be sent out the following day, will provide the following:
  • Company name
  • Stock ticker symbol
  • Country where the company is based
  • Price per share
  • Cash per share
  • Percentage discount to cash
  • Debt to Equity
However, you must subscribe by May 8 in order to get this free list. The reason why we have this short timeframe is that the information may become stale a week from now, and we want you to get timely information.

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