Here’s Why We’re A Bit Worried About Centrex Metals’s (ASX:CXM) Cash Burn Situation

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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Centrex Metals (ASX:CXM) 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’. First, we’ll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Centrex Metals

When Might Centrex Metals Run Out Of Money?

A company’s cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Centrex Metals last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$5.3m. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$10m. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 6 months of cash runway. That’s quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. Importantly, if we extrapolate recent cash burn trends, the cash runway would be a lot longer. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

ASX:CXM Historical Debt, February 7th 2020
ASX:CXM Historical Debt, February 7th 2020

How Is Centrex Metals’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Although Centrex Metals reported revenue of AU$43k last year, it didn’t actually have any revenue from operations. That means we consider it a pre-revenue business, and we will focus our growth analysis on cash burn, for now. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 65%. Oftentimes, increased cash burn simply means a company is accelerating its business development, but one should always be mindful that this causes the cash runway to shrink. Centrex Metals 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 Centrex Metals Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Centrex Metals 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. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Centrex Metals has a market capitalisation of AU$14m and burnt through AU$10m last year, which is 73% 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 Centrex Metals’s Cash Burn Situation?

There are no prizes for guessing that we think Centrex Metals’s cash burn is a bit of a worry. In particular, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap suggests it isn’t in a good position to keep funding growth. While not as bad as its cash burn relative to its market cap, its increasing cash burn is also a concern, and considering everything mentioned above, we’re struggling to find much to be optimistic about. The measures we’ve considered in this article lead us to believe its cash burn is actually quite concerning, and its weak cash position seems likely to cost shareholders one way or another. 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 Centrex Metals CEO is paid..

If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.

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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