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15 Companies with Zero Debt

Throughout the financial crisis, large debt loads weighed on company balance sheets and had serious implications for the firms that let their borrowing get out of control.

Other companies, however, have a history of operating with low debt levels, and many choose to issue no debt at all. Instead of debt, these companies hold cash and liquid investments in order to make acquisitions, investments and to run daily operations.

Although too much debt can quickly turn into a problem, zero debt does not always translate to a rising stock price, as you can see from the historical data provided in the following pages. Regardless, some companies have been successful in turning their zero-debt situation into a very favorable operating model.

With data from Capital IQ drawn from the most recent quarterly statements across the S&P 500, here are 15 companies that report having no debt on their balance sheets.

By Giovanny Moreano & Paul Toscano
Posted 21 July 2010

Note: Companies are ranked by the amount of cash and short term investments held on their balance sheets. In this case, total debt includes the sum of short-term borrowings, current portion of long-term debt, current portion of capital leases, long-term debt, capital leases, current finance division debt and non-current finance division debt, but does not include all possible liabilities.

Photo: Shutterstock || YTD performance is as of market close on 7/20/10.