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. For example, Bougainville Copper (ASX:BOC) shareholders have done very well over the last year, with the share price soaring by 154%. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
In light of its strong share price run, we think now is a good time to investigate how risky Bougainville Copper's cash burn is. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
Does Bougainville Copper Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. When Bougainville Copper last reported its balance sheet in December 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth K10m. Importantly, its cash burn was K5.3m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from December 2020 it had roughly 23 months of cash runway. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Bougainville Copper's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
While Bougainville Copper did record statutory revenue of K3.7m over the last year, it didn't have any revenue from operations. That means we consider it a pre-revenue business, and we will focus our growth analysis on cash burn, for now. Even though it doesn't get us excited, the 37% reduction in cash burn year on year does suggest the company can continue operating for quite some time. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Bougainville Copper 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 Easily Can Bougainville Copper Raise Cash?
Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Bougainville Copper to raise more cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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).
Bougainville Copper has a market capitalisation of K673m and burnt through K5.3m last year, which is 0.8% of the company's 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.
How Risky Is Bougainville Copper's Cash Burn Situation?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Bougainville Copper's cash burn. In particular, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Its cash burn reduction wasn't quite as good, but was still rather encouraging! 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. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 2 warning signs for Bougainville Copper that investors should know when investing in the stock.
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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