Will Tesoro Resources (ASX:TSO) Spend Its Cash Wisely?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 15, 2022
ASX:TSO
Source: Shutterstock

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So should Tesoro Resources (ASX:TSO) shareholders be worried about its 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. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

Check out our latest analysis for Tesoro Resources

How Long Is Tesoro Resources' 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 June 2021, Tesoro Resources had cash of AU$14m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$14m. Therefore, from June 2021 it had roughly 12 months of cash runway. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ASX:TSO Debt to Equity History January 15th 2022

How Is Tesoro Resources' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Tesoro Resources 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. Its cash burn positively exploded in the last year, up 385%. With that kind of spending growth its cash runway will shorten quickly, as it simultaneously uses its cash while increasing the burn rate. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Tesoro Resources due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

Can Tesoro Resources Raise More Cash Easily?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Tesoro Resources shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund growth. By looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.

Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$56m, Tesoro Resources' AU$14m in cash burn equates to about 24% of its market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.

Is Tesoro Resources' Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Tesoro Resources' cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Summing up, we think the Tesoro Resources' cash burn is a risk, based on the factors we mentioned in this article. On another note, Tesoro Resources has 4 warning signs (and 2 which make us uncomfortable) we think you should know about.

Of course Tesoro Resources may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

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