Is Twist Bioscience (TWST) a Smart Investment or a Value Trap? An In-Depth Exploration

Assessing the Risks Behind the Attractive Valuation of TWST

Article's Main Image

Value-focused investors are always on the lookout for undervalued stocks with the potential for significant returns. Twist Bioscience Corp (TWST, Financial), with its stock price of $26 and a recent gain of 5.39%, appears to be a candidate for such an investment. The stock has shown a 3-month increase of 5.73%, and its GF Value is estimated at a fair value of $59.56. At first glance, this suggests a promising opportunity for investors. However, a deeper analysis is required to determine if Twist Bioscience is indeed a hidden gem or a potential value trap.

Understanding the GF Value

The GF Value is an intrinsic value estimate, unique to GuruFocus. It is calculated based on historical trading multiples like PE, PS, PB Ratios, and Price-to-Free-Cash-Flow, adjusted for the company's past performance and estimated future business outcomes. The GF Value Line provides a benchmark for what the stock should be trading at, with the expectation that the stock price will oscillate around this line. A stock significantly above the GF Value Line may be overvalued, while one below could indicate a higher future return.


Despite the appealing valuation indicated by the GF Value, investors must scrutinize Twist Bioscience's financial health before making any investment decisions. Red flags such as a low Piotroski F-score of 2 suggest that Twist Bioscience could be a value trap. This score, alongside other financial indicators, underscores the necessity for comprehensive due diligence.

Financial Health Indicators

The Piotroski F-score is a nine-point system designed to evaluate a company's financial strength, with higher scores indicating a more robust financial condition. Twist Bioscience's low score raises concerns about its profitability, liquidity, and operational efficiency. These concerns are critical for investors to consider, as they can significantly affect the company's ability to sustain its business over the long term.

Twist Bioscience Corp: A Closer Look

Twist Bioscience is a synthetic biology company that leverages a proprietary DNA synthesis platform to industrialize the engineering of biology. The company's technology synthesizes DNA on silicon, which enables high-quality synthetic DNA production at a faster rate and more affordably than traditional methods. The majority of its revenue is derived from the United States. With a market cap of $1.50 billion and sales of $245.10 million, the company's operating margin and Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) are -84.41% and -48.81%, respectively, while its Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) stands at 15.72%.


Profitability Concerns

Twist Bioscience's profitability is a significant concern, as evidenced by its negative Return on Assets (ROA). This trend indicates the company's struggle to profit from its assets, a fundamental red flag for investors. Furthermore, the discrepancy between its cash flow from operations at $-142.47 million and net income at $-204.62 million over the trailing twelve months signals potential issues with the quality of its earnings. This could imply challenges in sustaining operations and meeting financial obligations.

Leverage, Liquidity, and Financial Risks

The company's rising debt-to-total assets ratio, from 0.09 in 2021 to 0.12 in 2023, points to an increased reliance on debt for financing assets, escalating its financial risk. Additionally, the decline in Twist Bioscience's current ratio over the past three years—from 8.67 in 2021 to 5.79 in 2023—suggests deteriorating liquidity and capacity to handle short-term financial commitments.

Operational Efficiency and Shareholder Value

Operational efficiency at Twist Bioscience paints a concerning picture. The increase in Diluted Average Shares Outstanding from 49.36 in 2021 to 57.28 in 2023 indicates share dilution, which can reduce the value of existing shares if earnings growth does not keep pace. Moreover, the company's asset turnover has decreased from 0.21 in 2021 to 0.28 in 2023, signaling inefficiency in using assets to generate sales.

Summarizing the Concerning Signals

The Piotroski F-score, among other financial metrics, paints a troubling picture for Twist Bioscience. The company's low profitability, increasing debt levels, declining liquidity, and operational inefficiencies are significant concerns that suggest it could be a value trap. Investors should be cautious and conduct thorough research before considering an investment in Twist Bioscience.


Despite its seemingly attractive valuation, Twist Bioscience (TWST, Financial) presents several indicators that it may be a value trap. The company's financial health, as reflected by its Piotroski F-score and other concerning financial metrics, suggests that investors should think twice before investing. For those seeking to invest in companies with strong financials, GuruFocus Premium members can use the Piotroski F-score screener to find stocks with high F-scores. As always, it's essential to balance the potential for high returns with the risk of significant losses when considering any investment.

This article, generated by GuruFocus, is designed to provide general insights and is not tailored financial advice. Our commentary is rooted in historical data and analyst projections, utilizing an impartial methodology, and is not intended to serve as specific investment guidance. It does not formulate a recommendation to purchase or divest any stock and does not consider individual investment objectives or financial circumstances. Our objective is to deliver long-term, fundamental data-driven analysis. Be aware that our analysis might not incorporate the most recent, price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative information. GuruFocus holds no position in the stocks mentioned herein.


I/We may personally own shares in some of the companies mentioned above. However, those positions are not material to either the company or to my/our portfolios.