We Think Immuron (ASX:IMC) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

Simply Wall St
October 01, 2021
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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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 the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

So, the natural question for Immuron (ASX:IMC) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

View our latest analysis for Immuron

When Might Immuron Run Out Of Money?

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, Immuron had cash of AU$25m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$4.1m. That means it had a cash runway of about 6.1 years as of 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

ASX:IMC Debt to Equity History October 1st 2021

How Is Immuron's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Whilst it's great to see that Immuron has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced AU$146k, so we don't think it is generating significant revenue, at this point. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 30%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. Immuron makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Easily Can Immuron Raise Cash?

While Immuron 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. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$35m, Immuron's AU$4.1m in cash burn equates to about 12% of its market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.

Is Immuron's Cash Burn A Worry?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Immuron 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. While its increasing cash burn wasn't great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. 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. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 2 warning signs for Immuron (of which 1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) you should know about.

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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