We Think ECSC Group (LON:ECSC) Needs To Drive Business Growth Carefully

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 ECSC Group (LON:ECSC) shareholders should 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. Let’s start with an examination of the business’s cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for ECSC Group

How Long Is ECSC Group’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, ECSC Group had cash of UK£190k and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was UK£810k over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 3 months from June 2019. With a cash runway that short, we strongly believe that the company must raise cash or else douse its cash burn promptly. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

AIM:ECSC Historical Debt, January 1st 2020
AIM:ECSC Historical Debt, January 1st 2020

How Well Is ECSC Group Growing?

Happily, ECSC Group is travelling in the right direction when it comes to its cash burn, which is down 62% over the last year. And it could also show revenue growth of 12% in the same period. We think it is growing rather well, upon reflection. 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.

Can ECSC Group Raise More Cash Easily?

Since ECSC Group revenue has been falling, the market will likely be considering how it can raise more cash if need be. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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).

ECSC Group has a market capitalisation of UK£12m and burnt through UK£810k last year, which is 6.8% of the company’s market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year’s growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.

Is ECSC Group’s Cash Burn A Worry?

Even though its cash runway makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought ECSC Group’s cash burn reduction was relatively promising. We don’t think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. We think it’s very important to consider the cash burn for loss making companies, but other considerations such as the amount the CEO is paid can also enhance your understanding of the business. You can click here to see what ECSC Group’s CEO gets paid each year.

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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