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 the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
So should Elmo Software (ASX:ELO) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purpose of this article, we’ll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.
Does Elmo Software Have A Long 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 December 2019, Elmo Software had cash of AU$78m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$12m. That means it had a cash runway of about 6.6 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.
How Well Is Elmo Software Growing?
Some investors might find it troubling that Elmo Software is actually increasing its cash burn, which is up 38% in the last year. The silver lining is that revenue was up 38%, showing the business is growing at the top line. Considering the factors above, the company doesn’t fare badly when it comes to assessing how it is changing over time. 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 Elmo Software To Raise More Cash For Growth?
We are certainly impressed with the progress Elmo Software has made over the last year, but it is also worth considering how costly it would be if it wanted to raise more cash to fund faster growth. 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).
Elmo Software’s cash burn of AU$12m is about 2.9% of its AU$402m market capitalisation. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.
Is Elmo Software’s Cash Burn A Worry?
It may already be apparent to you that we’re relatively comfortable with the way Elmo Software is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we’re not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. Taking an in-depth view of risks, we’ve identified 3 warning signs for Elmo Software that you should be aware of before investing.
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)
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