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15 Companies with Zero Debt (Q1 2011)

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 no
Data source: SEC Filings, Capital IQ and Thomson Reuters  || Photo: Shutterstock

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 5 Jan 2011


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.

15. QLogic (QLGC)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $304 million Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 2007: $0 total debt, -35.2% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -5.4% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +40.4% share price 2010: $0 total debt, -9.8% share price
Photo: QLogic || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 10/29/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $304 million
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 43%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year 
2008: $0 total debt, -5.4% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +40.4% share price
2010: $0 total debt, -9.8% share price

See QLGC Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

14. F5 Networks (FFIV)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $429 million Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 2007: $0 total debt, -23.1% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -19.8% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +131.7% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +145.7% share price
Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 12/10/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $429 million
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 32.4%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -19.8% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +131.7% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +145.7% share price

See FFIV Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

13. Urban Outfitters (URBN)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $504 million Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 2007: $0 total debt, +18.4% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -45% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +133.6% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +2.3% share price
Photo: AP || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 12/10/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $504 million
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 31.4%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year 
2008: $0 total debt, -45% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +133.6% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +2.3% share price
See URBN Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

12. Teradata (TDC)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $741 million Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 2008: $0 total debt, -48.9% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +111.9% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +31% share price
Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 11/4/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $741 million
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 44.5%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -48.9% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +111.9% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +31% share price

See TDC Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

11. Red Hat (RHT)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $845 million Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 42% 2007: $0 total debt, -9.4% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -36.6% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +133.7% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +47.7% share price
Photo: Lucidio Studio Inc | Getty Images || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 12/21/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $845 million
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 42%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -36.6% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +133.7% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +47.7% share price

See RHT Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

10. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $981 million Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 42% 2007: $0 total debt, +236.8% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -60.7% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +138.9% share price 2010: $0 total debt, -15.1% share price
Photo: IntuitiveSurgical.com || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 10/20/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $981 million
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 42%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -60.7% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +138.9% share price
2010: $0 total debt, -15.1% share price

See ISRG Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

9. Expeditors Int’l of Washington (EXPD)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $1.06 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 39% 2007: $0 total debt, +10.32% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -25.54% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +4.51% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +57% share price
Photo: Getty Images || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 11/8/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $1.06 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 39%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -25.54% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +4.51% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +57% share price

See EXPD Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

8. Novell Inc (NOVL)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $1.1 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 50.6% 2007: $600m total debt, +10.8% share price 2008: $126m total debt, -43.4% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +6.68% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +42.7% share price
Photo: Cool Caesar || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 12/13/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $1.1 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 50.6%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $126m total debt, -43.4% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +6.68% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +42.7% share price

See NOVL Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

7. Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $1.14 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 44% 2007: $0 total debt, +22.9% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -60.5% share price 2009: $52m total debt, +29.3% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +50.3% share price
Photo: Autodesk.com || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 12/7/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $1.14 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 44%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -60.5% share price
2009: $52m total debt, +29.3% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +50.3% share price

See ADSK Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

6. Electronic Arts (ERTS)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $1.7 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 36.9% 2007: $0 total debt, +16% share price 2008: $0 total debt, -72.5% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +10.7% share price 2010: $0 total debt, -7.7% share price
Photo: Getty Images || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 11/8/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $1.7 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 36.9%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -72.5% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +10.7% share price
2010: $0 total debt, -7.7% share price

See ERTS Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

5. Cognizant Tech Solutions (CTSH)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $1.9 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 45.4% 2008: $0 total debt, -46.79% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +151% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +61.7% share price
Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 11/3/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $1.9 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 45.4%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -46.79% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +151% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +61.7% share price

See CTSH Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

4. Broadcom Corp (BRCM)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $2.4 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 38.2% 2008: $0 total debt, -35.1% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +85.4% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +38.4% share price
Photo: Broadcom.com || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 10/26/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $2.4 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 38.2%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -35.1% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +85.4% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +38.4% share price

See BRCM Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

3. Forest Laboratories (FRX)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $3.4 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 55.4% 2008: $0 total debt, -30.1% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +26.1% share price 2010: $0 total debt, -0.4% share price
Photo: Getty Images || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 11/9/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $3.4 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 55.4%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -30.1% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +26.1% share price
2010: $0 total debt, -0.4% share price

See FRX Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

2. eBay (EBAY)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $5.3 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 26.7% 2008: $1b total debt, -57.9% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +68.6% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +18.3% share price
Photo: ebay.com || Numbers according to 10-Q Filing on 10/21/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $5.3 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 26.7%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $1b total debt, -57.9% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +68.6% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +18.3% share price

See EBAY Real-Time Quote and Full Financials

1. Apple (AAPL)

Total debt: $0 Cash & ST investments: $25.6 billion Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 34.1% 2008: $0 total debt, -56.9% share price 2009: $0 total debt, +146.9% share price 2010: $0 total debt, +53.7% share price
Photo: Getty Images || Numbers according to 10-K Filing on 10/27/10

Total debt: $0
Cash & ST investments: $25.6 billion
Liquid assets (as % of total assets): 34.1%

Historical Debt and Price Levels, Per Year
2008: $0 total debt, -56.9% share price
2009: $0 total debt, +146.9% share price
2010: $0 total debt, +53.7% share price

See AAPL Real-Time Quote and Full Financials