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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So should Graham (NYSE:GHM) shareholders 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. We’ll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
How Long Is Graham’s Cash Runway?
A company’s cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Graham last reported its balance sheet in December 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$70m. In the last year, its cash burn was US$6.8m. That means it had a cash runway of very many years as of December 2019. Even though this is but one measure of the company’s cash burn, the thought of such a long cash runway warms our bellies in a comforting way. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
Is Graham’s Revenue Growing?
We’re hesitant to extrapolate on the recent trend to assess its cash burn, because Graham actually had positive free cash flow last year, so operating revenue growth is probably our best bet to measure, right now. As it happens, operating revenue has been pretty flat over the last year. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. 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 Graham To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Graham is showing solid revenue growth, it’s still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. 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.
Graham’s cash burn of US$6.8m is about 4.3% of its US$157m market capitalisation. That’s a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.
So, Should We Worry About Graham’s Cash Burn?
As you can probably tell by now, we’re not too worried about Graham’s cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. On this analysis its revenue growth was its weakest feature, but we are not concerned about it. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we’re pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. 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: Graham 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)
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