Here's Why We're Not At All Concerned With Neuren Pharmaceuticals' (ASX:NEU) Cash Burn Situation

By
Simply Wall St
Published
August 06, 2021
ASX:NEU
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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

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

See our latest analysis for Neuren Pharmaceuticals

When Might Neuren Pharmaceuticals 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. When Neuren Pharmaceuticals last reported its balance sheet in December 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$24m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$8.1m. Therefore, from December 2020 it had 3.0 years of cash runway. That's decent, giving the company a couple years to develop its business. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

debt-equity-history-analysis
ASX:NEU Debt to Equity History August 7th 2021

How Is Neuren Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Whilst it's great to see that Neuren Pharmaceuticals has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced AU$717k, 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. While it hardly paints a picture of imminent growth, the fact that it has reduced its cash burn by 31% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Neuren Pharmaceuticals due to its lack of significant operating revenues. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

How Hard Would It Be For Neuren Pharmaceuticals To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Neuren Pharmaceuticals to raise more cash in the future. 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 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).

Neuren Pharmaceuticals has a market capitalisation of AU$214m and burnt through AU$8.1m last year, which is 3.8% of the company's market value. 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.

Is Neuren Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn A Worry?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Neuren Pharmaceuticals' cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. And even though its cash burn reduction wasn't quite as impressive, it was still a positive. Taking all the factors in this report into account, we're not at all worried about its cash burn, as the business appears well capitalized to spend as needs be. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 2 warning signs for Neuren Pharmaceuticals (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, 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. 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.
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Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.