We've all heard the phrase that "cash is king," and nothing could be truer after the near credit collapse we endured in recent years. Companies these days covet cash as both an investment vehicle to feed future expansion and as a buffer against uncertain economic times. It therefore pays to keep a close eye on companies that prudently manage their balance sheets as they have better financial flexibility in either situation.

Below I've outlined two companies that could have a step up on their competitors because of their healthy cash reserves. Please keep in mind, though, that sizable cash reserves don't guarantee investment success but do serve as a starting point for future research.

Connect the dots
Motley Fool CAPS darling Neutral Tandem (Nasdaq: TNDM) may be worth a closer look, with $6.19 per share in cash reserves and a growth rate well in the double digits. Neutral Tandem provides voice and video interconnection services to wireless communication providers; Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and AT&T (NYSE: T) combine for more than a third of its revenue.

Neutral Tandem's appeal relates to the growing market of wireless users and an increasing amount of transmitted data. On the other side of this phenomenal track record of growth is an always-increasing field of competitors headed by Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT). Neutral Tandem is still relatively small at a $569 million market cap, so it could be considered a takeover target by a larger firm, or it may continue its current growth strategy. Either way, its track record so far has been impressive, and it should at least merit a spot on your watchlist.

(NYSE: KYO) could possibly be the biggest company you've never heard of since, on average, only 10,000 shares trade hands daily. However, it's a well-diversified Japanese juggernaut with a $19 billion market cap that makes for a sneaky play in solar.

Kyocera has a net cash position of just under $25 per share, which is providing the financial backing to build solar cell manufacturing facilities around the world. This flexibility allows Kyocera to expand organically through its solar investments and also gives it the opportunity to expand via acquisition if it sees fit.

Solar isn't the only reason Kyocera appears attractive. Its mobile phone division has created quite a buzz as investors anticipate the impact of its dual-screen smartphone, the Echo, which could appeal to consumers not content with rival Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) standard iPhone screen size. The Echo is due out this spring in partnership with Sprint Nextel, so we don't have to wait much longer to find out if it will be a success. Kyocera trades at only 1.1 times book value and expects a double-digit growth rate expected over the next five years, so this could be a company worth a deeper look.

Do you have a cash-rich company on your radar or have an opinion on any companies mentioned here? Sound off in the comments section below!

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