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 the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
So should OncoSil Medical (ASX:OSL) shareholders be worried about its 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'.
Does OncoSil Medical Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. As at December 2019, OncoSil Medical had cash of AU$6.8m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$6.3m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 13 months from December 2019. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is OncoSil Medical's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
While OncoSil Medical did record statutory revenue of AU$3.0m over the last year, it didn't have any revenue from operations. That means we consider it a pre-revenue business, and we will focus our growth analysis on cash burn, for now. As it happens, the company's cash burn reduced by 20% over the last year, which suggests that management are maintaining a fairly steady rate of business development, albeit with a slight decrease in spending. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
Can OncoSil Medical Raise More Cash Easily?
While OncoSil Medical is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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.
OncoSil Medical's cash burn of AU$6.3m is about 7.3% of its AU$85m 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 OncoSil Medical's Cash Burn?
OncoSil Medical appears to be in pretty good health when it comes to its cash burn situation. Not only was its cash burn reduction quite good, but its cash burn relative to its market cap was a real positive. While we're the kind of investors who are always a bit concerned about the risks involved with cash burning companies, the metrics we have discussed in this article leave us relatively comfortable about OncoSil Medical's situation. On another note, OncoSil Medical has 7 warning signs (and 2 which are a bit concerning) we think you should know about.
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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. Thank you for reading.