Acacia Coal (ASX:AJC) Is In A Good Position To Deliver On Growth Plans

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Acacia Coal (ASX:AJC) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company’s annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the ‘cash burn’. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.

View our latest analysis for Acacia Coal

When Might Acacia Coal Run Out Of Money?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. When Acacia Coal last reported its balance sheet in December 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$2.4m. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$404k over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of about 6.0 years as of December 2019. Even though this is but one measure of the company’s cash burn, the thought of such a long cash runway warms our bellies in a comforting way. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

ASX:AJC Historical Debt, March 19th 2020
ASX:AJC Historical Debt, March 19th 2020

How Is Acacia Coal’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

While Acacia Coal did record statutory revenue of AU$5.6k over the last year, it didn’t have any revenue from operations. To us, that makes it a pre-revenue company, so we’ll look to its cash burn trajectory as an assessment of its cash burn situation. With the cash burn rate up 40% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. Acacia Coal makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Hard Would It Be For Acacia Coal To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Acacia Coal shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive growth. By comparing a company’s annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).

Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$4.1m, Acacia Coal’s AU$404k in cash burn equates to about 9.9% of its market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year’s growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.

Is Acacia Coal’s Cash Burn A Worry?

It may already be apparent to you that we’re relatively comfortable with the way Acacia Coal is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we’re not worried about its rate of cash burn, which seems to be under control. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for Acacia Coal (of which 3 are concerning!) you should know about.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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