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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
So should GetSwift (ASX:GSW) shareholders 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. First, we’ll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
How Long Is GetSwift’s 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. As at June 2019, GetSwift had cash of AU$69m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$27m. That means it had a cash runway of about 2.5 years as of June 2019. That’s decent, giving the company a couple years to develop its business. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is GetSwift’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Although GetSwift had revenue of AU$2.1m in the last twelve months, its operating revenue was only AU$2.1m 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. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 192%. That sort of spending growth rate can’t continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. In reality, this article only makes a short study of the company’s growth data. You can take a look at how GetSwift is growing revenue over time by checking this visualization of past revenue growth.
Can GetSwift Raise More Cash Easily?
While GetSwift 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 comparing a company’s annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$97m, GetSwift’s AU$27m in cash burn equates to about 28% of its market value. That’s fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year’s operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.
So, Should We Worry About GetSwift’s Cash Burn?
On this analysis of GetSwift’s cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Even though we don’t think it has a problem with its cash burn, the analysis we’ve done in this article does suggest that shareholders should give some careful thought to the potential cost of raising more money in the future. 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: GetSwift 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 companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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.
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