- Metals and Mining
Companies Like Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) Are In A Position To Invest In Growth
We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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.
So, the natural question for Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
Check out our latest analysis for Sovereign Metals
How Long Is Sovereign Metals' Cash Runway?
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 2022, Sovereign Metals had AU$19m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$10m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2022 it had roughly 22 months of cash runway. Importantly, analysts think that Sovereign Metals will reach cashflow breakeven in 4 years. Essentially, that means the company will either reduce its cash burn, or else require more cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Sovereign Metals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Sovereign Metals didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its 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. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 147%. It's fair to say that sort of rate of increase cannot be maintained for very long, without putting pressure on the balance sheet. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Hard Would It Be For Sovereign Metals To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Sovereign Metals does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. 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. 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.
Sovereign Metals' cash burn of AU$10m is about 4.3% of its AU$238m market capitalisation. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.
So, Should We Worry About Sovereign Metals' Cash Burn?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Sovereign Metals' cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 3 warning signs for Sovereign Metals you should be aware of, and 1 of them is concerning.
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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
Sovereign Metals Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the identification, exploration, development, and appraisal of mineral resource projects in Malawi.
Adequate balance sheet with moderate growth potential.