There’s no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Canterbury Resources (ASX:CBY) shareholders 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’.
How Long Is Canterbury Resources’s Cash Runway?
A company’s cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. In June 2019, Canterbury Resources had AU$2.9m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$4.2m. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 8 months of cash runway. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. Importantly, if we extrapolate recent cash burn trends, the cash runway would be noticeably longer. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Canterbury Resources’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In our view, Canterbury Resources doesn’t yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just AU$36k in the last twelve months. As a result, we think it’s a bit early to focus on the revenue growth, so we’ll limit ourselves to looking at how the cash burn is changing over time. Remarkably, it actually increased its cash burn by 323% in the last year. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company’s cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. Canterbury Resources makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we’d generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.
Can Canterbury Resources Raise More Cash Easily?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Canterbury Resources shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$18m, Canterbury Resources’s AU$4.2m in cash burn equates to about 23% of its market value. That’s not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year’s growth at the current share price, you’d likely witness fairly costly dilution.
How Risky Is Canterbury Resources’s Cash Burn Situation?
We must admit that we don’t think Canterbury Resources is in a very strong position, when it comes to its cash burn. While its cash burn relative to its market cap wasn’t too bad, its increasing cash burn does leave us rather nervous. After looking at that range of measures, we think shareholders should be extremely attentive to how the company is using its cash, as the cash burn makes us uncomfortable. While it’s important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Canterbury Resources 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 interesting companies, 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.