A Feast for Cash-Rich Companies

S&P spotlights corporations that can afford to boost their businesses by buying assets from distressed outfits

By Numer de Guia

For corporations, what could be sweeter than having some cash on hand in a buyer's market? In the current slow economic environment, distressed companies may have to dispose of assets at fire-sale prices. And outfits with a bankroll can take advantage of the situation -- and strengthen their businesses in the bargain.

That's the thinking behind this week's screen. We wanted to find companies with excess cash (defined as the amount of cash less total current liabilities on the balance sheet) of $250 million or more.

And we used two other filters to indicate that the businesses would be in solid financial shape. They need to have a ratio of current assets to liabilities that's 4 or better, and they must have posted operating profits for the past 12 months. We ran the numbers, and these 15 names emerged:

• ABB (ABB )

• Advantest (ATE )

• Analog Devices (ADI )

• Ascential Software (ASCL )

• Cephalon (CEPH )

• Comverse Technology (CMVT )

• eBay (EBAY )

• Enzon (ENZN )

• Exar (EXAR )

• Idec Pharmaceuticals (IDPH )

• Intersil (ISIL )

• Kemet (KEM )

• King Pharmaceuticals (KG )

• Qualcomm (QCOM )

• Tellabs (TLAB )

De Guia is a portfolio services analyst for Standard & Poor's

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.