We're Keeping An Eye On Fenix Resources's (ASX:FEX) Cash Burn Rate

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 02, 2020
ASX:FEX

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, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Fenix Resources (ASX:FEX) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. 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.

View our latest analysis for Fenix Resources

Does Fenix Resources Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Fenix Resources last reported its balance sheet in December 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$2.2m. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$3.2m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from December 2019 it had roughly 8 months of cash runway. Importantly, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that Fenix Resources will reach cashflow breakeven in 3 years. That means unless the company reduces its cash burn quickly, it may well look to raise more cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

ASX:FEX Historical Debt June 2nd 2020
ASX:FEX Historical Debt June 2nd 2020

How Is Fenix Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Fenix 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 the cash burn rate up 36% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. 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.

Can Fenix Resources Raise More Cash Easily?

Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Fenix Resources 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. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to 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).

Fenix Resources has a market capitalisation of AU$25m and burnt through AU$3.2m last year, which is 13% of the company's market value. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.

Is Fenix Resources's Cash Burn A Worry?

Even though its cash runway makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Fenix Resources's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that at least one analyst is forecasting it will reach breakeven. Summing up, we think the Fenix Resources's cash burn is a risk, based on the factors we mentioned in this article. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 4 warning signs for Fenix Resources 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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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.

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