We Think Zeus Resources (ASX:ZEU) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Zeus Resources (ASX:ZEU) shareholders should 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. Let’s start with an examination of the business’s cash, relative to its cash burn.

View our latest analysis for Zeus Resources

How Long Is Zeus Resources’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. In June 2019, Zeus Resources had AU$1.5m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$462k. Therefore, from June 2019 it had 3.3 years of cash runway. A runway of this length affords the company the time and space it needs to develop the business. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

ASX:ZEU Historical Debt, October 11th 2019
ASX:ZEU Historical Debt, October 11th 2019

How Is Zeus Resources’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Zeus Resources isn’t currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. So while we can’t look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. With cash burn dropping by 18% it seems management feel the company is spending enough to advance its business plans at an appropriate pace. Admittedly, we’re a bit cautious of Zeus Resources due to its lack of significant operating revenues. So we’d generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

How Hard Would It Be For Zeus Resources To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Zeus Resources to raise more cash in the future. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. 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.

Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$1.4m, Zeus Resources’s AU$462k in cash burn equates to about 32% 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.

How Risky Is Zeus Resources’s Cash Burn Situation?

Even though its cash burn relative to its market cap makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Zeus Resources’s cash runway was relatively promising. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don’t think they should be worried. 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 Zeus Resources’s CEO gets paid each year.

Of course Zeus Resources may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

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. Thank you for reading.