Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. By way of example, Andromeda Metals (ASX:ADN) has seen its share price rise 1,094% over the last year, delighting many shareholders. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
So notwithstanding the buoyant share price, we think it's well worth asking whether Andromeda Metals' cash burn is too risky. 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.
When Might Andromeda Metals Run Out Of Money?
A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. In June 2020, Andromeda Metals had AU$3.0m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$4.3m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 8 months from June 2020. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Andromeda Metals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Whilst it's great to see that Andromeda Metals has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced AU$3.7k, so we don't think it is generating significant revenue, at this point. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 102%. That sort of spending growth rate can't continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. 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 Andromeda Metals Raise More Cash Easily?
Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Andromeda Metals shareholders may wish to think ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$797m, Andromeda Metals' AU$4.3m in cash burn equates to about 0.5% of its market value. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.
Is Andromeda Metals' Cash Burn A Worry?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Andromeda Metals' cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. 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. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 4 warning signs for Andromeda Metals you should be aware of, and 1 of them is significant.
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.
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