Here’s Why We’re Not Too Worried About 48North Cannabis’s (CVE:NRTH) Cash Burn Situation

Even when a business is losing money, it’s possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. 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.

So, the natural question for 48North Cannabis (CVE:NRTH) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. Let’s start with an examination of the business’s cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for 48North Cannabis

Does 48North Cannabis Have A Long 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 September 2019, 48North Cannabis had CA$42m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$17m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of about 2.4 years from September 2019. Importantly, though, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that 48North Cannabis will reach cashflow breakeven before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

TSXV:NRTH Historical Debt, January 7th 2020
TSXV:NRTH Historical Debt, January 7th 2020

How Is 48North Cannabis’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Although 48North Cannabis had revenue of CA$5.0m in the last twelve months, its operating revenue was only CA$5.0m in that time period. Given how low that operating leverage is, we think it’s too early to put much weight on the revenue growth, so we’ll focus on how the cash burn is changing, instead. The skyrocketing cash burn up 110% year on year certainly tests our nerves. That sort of spending growth rate can’t continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. 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.

How Easily Can 48North Cannabis Raise Cash?

While 48North Cannabis 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.

48North Cannabis’s cash burn of CA$17m is about 28% of its CA$62m market capitalisation. 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.

So, Should We Worry About 48North Cannabis’s Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we’re not too worried about 48North Cannabis’s cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. While we must concede that its increasing cash burn is a bit worrying, the other factors mentioned in this article provide great comfort when it comes to the cash burn. It’s clearly very positive to see that at least one analyst is forecasting the company will break even fairly soon. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we’re not overly concerned about the company’s cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. When you don’t have traditional metrics like earnings per share and free cash flow to value a company, many are extra motivated to consider qualitative factors such as whether insiders are buying or selling shares. Please Note: 48North Cannabis insiders have been trading shares, according to our data. Click here to check whether insiders 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)

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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