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 Giga Metals (CVE:GIGA) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. Let’s start with an examination of the business’s cash, relative to its cash burn.
When Might Giga Metals Run Out Of Money?
A company’s cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Giga Metals last reported its balance sheet in September 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$2.5m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through CA$1.3m. Therefore, from September 2019 it had 2.0 years of cash runway. That’s decent, giving the company a couple years to develop its business. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Giga Metals’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Giga Metals didn’t record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it’s an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 30%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. However, the company’s true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. Admittedly, we’re a bit cautious of Giga Metals due to its lack of significant operating revenues. So we’d generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.
How Hard Would It Be For Giga Metals To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Giga Metals does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive growth. By looking at a company’s cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year’s cash burn.
Giga Metals’s cash burn of CA$1.3m is about 7.6% of its CA$17m market capitalisation. That’s a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.
So, Should We Worry About Giga Metals’s Cash Burn?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Giga Metals’s cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don’t think they should be worried. While it’s important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Giga Metals insiders have been trading shares in the company. Click here to find out if they have been buying or selling.
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)
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