Companies Like Zeus Resources (ASX:ZEU) Are In A Position To Invest In Growth

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, although software-as-a-service business Salesforce.com lost money for years while it grew recurring revenue, if you held shares since 2005, you’d have done very well indeed. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Zeus Resources (ASX:ZEU) 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’. Let’s start with an examination of the business’s cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for Zeus Resources

When Might Zeus Resources Run Out Of Money?

You can calculate a company’s cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. In December 2019, Zeus Resources had AU$1.3m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$377k. Therefore, from December 2019 it had 3.5 years of cash runway. A runway of this length affords the company the time and space it needs to develop the business. However, if we extrapolate the company’s recent cash burn trend, then it would have a longer cash run way. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

ASX:ZEU Historical Debt, March 25th 2020
ASX:ZEU Historical Debt, March 25th 2020

How Is Zeus Resources’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Zeus Resources isn’t currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. So while we can’t look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. While it hardly paints a picture of imminent growth, the fact that it has reduced its cash burn by 21% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. Zeus Resources 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 Easily Can Zeus Resources Raise Cash?

While Zeus Resources is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it’s still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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).

Zeus Resources has a market capitalisation of AU$901k and burnt through AU$377k last year, which is 42% of the company’s market value. From this perspective, it seems that the company spent a huge amount relative to its market value, and we’d be very wary of a painful capital raising.

So, Should We Worry About Zeus Resources’s Cash Burn?

On this analysis of Zeus Resources’s cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap has us a bit worried. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we’re not overly concerned about the company’s cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for Zeus Resources (of which 3 shouldn’t be ignored!) you should know about.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, 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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