Here's Why We're Not Too Worried About Argenica Therapeutics' (ASX:AGN) Cash Burn Situation

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 30, 2021
ASX:AGN
Source: Shutterstock

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. But while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

So, the natural question for Argenica Therapeutics (ASX:AGN) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Argenica Therapeutics

Does Argenica Therapeutics Have A Long 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, Argenica Therapeutics had cash of AU$7.1m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$1.0m. So it had a cash runway of about 6.8 years from June 2021. While this is only one measure of its cash burn situation, it certainly gives us the impression that holders have nothing to worry about. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ASX:AGN Debt to Equity History December 30th 2021

How Is Argenica Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Although Argenica Therapeutics reported revenue of AU$296k last year, it didn't actually have any revenue from operations. To us, that makes it a pre-revenue company, so we'll look to its cash burn trajectory as an assessment of its cash burn situation. Remarkably, it actually increased its cash burn by 938% in the last year. We certainly hope for shareholders' sake that the money is well spent, because that kind of expenditure increase always makes us nervous. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Argenica Therapeutics due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Easily Can Argenica Therapeutics Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Argenica Therapeutics shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. 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.

Argenica Therapeutics' cash burn of AU$1.0m is about 1.8% of its AU$59m market capitalisation. So it could almost certainly just borrow a little to fund another year's growth, or else easily raise the cash by issuing a few shares.

How Risky Is Argenica Therapeutics' Cash Burn Situation?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Argenica Therapeutics is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Although we do find its increasing cash burn to be a bit of a negative, once we consider the other metrics mentioned in this article together, the overall picture is one we are comfortable with. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we're not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Argenica Therapeutics (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

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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