For many companies, debt is just a simple part of business. The money acquired from a loan can give a business a wide range of investment opportunities and, oftentimes, the interest is tax-deductible.
That being said, an investor should always be wary of the debt a company on their watch list has. A company with significant debt must have a plan in action to cover this debt and sufficient cash flow to meet its repayment obligations.
In a bid to avoid financial headaches, some companies avoid debt altogether. These three companies are currently staying out of debt -- and it's working for them.
1. Monster Beverage
Debt plays a big role in the history of Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST), the business responsible for the Monster Energy drinks. The founding company, Hansen Natural, filed for bankruptcy in 1988, but since then, Monster has showcased how remaining debt-free can be a great thing for a company.
For 26 consecutive years, Monster has been able to increase gross sales. In the first quarter of 2019, net sales grew 11.2% to $946 million. This growth has been attributed to Monster's international appeal and successful launch of new products.
While the consumption of energy drinks rose to 5.5% of young adults in 2016, the threat of consumers no longer wanting energy drinks, as happened to diet soda, always looms over Monster. To counter this potential risk, Monster has diversified into health-related products. In 2019, for example, it launched Reign Total Body Fuel, a product marketed toward gym-goers and fitness experts.
One of Monster's most valuable assets is its brand. By sponsoring famous athletes and events, as well as partnering with Coca-Cola to ship internationally, Monster has created a brand that is recognized in over 142 countries.
Monster's iconic brand, diversification and lack of debt, ensure that it will be around for many years into the future.
2. Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), the business behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, is another company that is thriving without debt. For the fiscal year of 2018, Take-Two repurchased 1.5 million shares and, as of March 2019, had $1.57 billion in cash and short-term investments. How's that for a powerful balance sheet?
A large portion of Take-Two's success is due to digital sales. While net revenue increased by about 1% in 2018, digital revenue grew 23% to $1.13 billion. Despite being released in 2013, games such as Grand Theft Auto V are still generating large amounts of revenue for Take-Two through additional downloadable content. Recurring spending on these high-margin digital items now makes up 42% of Take-Two's net revenue.
The release of future titles will further strengthen Take-Two's video game portfolio. In the first two months after its launch, Red Dead Redemption 2 sold 23 million copies and will continue to generate revenue years into the future through these digital microtransactions.
Even with share repurchase programs and expensive game development, Take-Two still has a tremendous amount of cash and will not need to go into debt any time soon.
3. Align Technology
Invisalign, Align Technology's (NASDAQ:ALGN) replacement for traditional train track braces, has become a household name over the past few years and, unlike many other businesses, Align is debt-free.
Even without taking on debt, Align Technology has been able to expand its business consistently. In Q2 2019, revenue grew 22.5% year over year, with Invisalign volume reaching 377,100 cases in the same period. Align Technology is also seeing significant growth abroad with revenue from China increasing 91% in 2018, accounting for 8% of total revenue.
Today, Align's main threat comes from competitors such as SmileDirectClub, which offer a cheaper, direct-to-home alternative. What gives Align an edge over its competitors is not only the brand's household recognition but its geographic distribution and an extensive collection of patents. Unlike SmileDirectClub, which is only available in the U.S., Align Technology is available worldwide with over 480 patents globally.
Align's acquisition of Cadent in 2011 came with the iTero scanner, a device used by dentists worldwide. This diversification away from solely clear teeth aligners, combined with its lack of debt, will allow Align to succeed even when the economy slows down.