There’s no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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 the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.
Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Goldquest Mining (CVE:GQC) 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. We’ll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
How Long Is Goldquest Mining’s Cash Runway?
A company’s cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at June 2019, Goldquest Mining had cash of CA$17m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was CA$2.5m. Therefore, from June 2019 it had 6.9 years of cash runway. Importantly, though, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that Goldquest Mining will reach cashflow breakeven before then. If that happens, then the length of its cash runway, today, would become a moot point. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Goldquest Mining’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Goldquest Mining 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. The 60% reduction in its cash burn over the last twelve months may be good for protecting the balance sheet but it hardly points to imminent growth. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
Can Goldquest Mining Raise More Cash Easily?
There’s no doubt Goldquest Mining’s rapidly reducing cash burn brings comfort, but even if it’s only hypothetical, it’s always worth asking how easily it could raise more money to fund further growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive growth. We can compare a company’s cash burn to its market capitalisation to get a sense for how many new shares a company would have to issue to fund one year’s operations.
Goldquest Mining’s cash burn of CA$2.5m is about 9.4% of its CA$27m market capitalisation. 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.
How Risky Is Goldquest Mining’s Cash Burn Situation?
It may already be apparent to you that we’re relatively comfortable with the way Goldquest Mining is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. But it’s fair to say that its cash burn relative to its market cap was also very reassuring. One real positive is that at least one analyst is forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. Taking all the factors in this report into account, we’re not at all worried about its cash burn, as the business appears well capitalized to spend as needs be. For us, it’s always important to consider risks around cash burn rates. But investors should look at a whole range of factors when researching a new stock. For example, it could be interesting to see how much the Goldquest Mining CEO receives in total remuneration.
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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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. Thank you for reading.