Here’s Why Genprex (NASDAQ:GNPX) Must Use Its Cash Wisely

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. 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 Genprex (NASDAQ:GNPX) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.

View our latest analysis for Genprex

Does Genprex Have A Long Cash Runway?

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. When Genprex last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$4.5m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$7.7m. That means it had a cash runway of around 7 months as of June 2019. 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:GNPX Historical Debt, October 8th 2019
NasdaqCM:GNPX Historical Debt, October 8th 2019

How Is Genprex’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Genprex 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. During the last twelve months, its cash burn actually ramped up 83%. While this spending increase is no doubt intended to drive growth, if the trend continues the company’s cash runway will shrink very quickly. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

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

Given its cash burn trajectory, Genprex shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. 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.

Genprex has a market capitalisation of US$12m and burnt through US$7.7m last year, which is 65% of the company’s market value. Given how large that cash burn is, relative to the market value of the entire company, we’d consider it to be a high risk stock, with the real possibility of extreme dilution.

How Risky Is Genprex’s Cash Burn Situation?

As you can probably tell by now, we’re rather concerned about Genprex’s cash burn. In particular, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap suggests it isn’t in a good position to keep funding growth. And although we accept its increasing cash burn wasn’t as worrying as its cash burn relative to its market cap, it was still a real negative; as indeed were all the factors we considered in this article. After considering the data discussed in this article, we don’t have a lot of confidence that its cash burn rate is prudent, as it seems like it might need more cash soon. While we always like to monitor cash burn for early stage companies, qualitative factors such as the CEO pay can also shed light on the situation. Click here to see free what the Genprex CEO is paid..

Of course Genprex may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

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. Thank you for reading.