Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So, the natural question for Suda Pharmaceuticals (ASX:SUD) 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.
Does Suda Pharmaceuticals 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. When Suda Pharmaceuticals last reported its balance sheet in December 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$5.5m. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$3.5m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 19 months as of December 2020. 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Suda Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In the last year, Suda Pharmaceuticals did book revenue of AU$564k, but its revenue from operations was less, at just AU$405k. We don't think that's enough operating revenue for us to understand too much from revenue growth rates, since the company is growing off a low base. So we'll focus on the cash burn, today. As it happens, the company's cash burn reduced by 14% over the last year, which suggests that management are maintaining a fairly steady rate of business development, albeit with a slight decrease in spending. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Hard Would It Be For Suda 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 Suda 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. 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$34m, Suda Pharmaceuticals' AU$3.5m in cash burn equates to about 10% of its market value. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.
So, Should We Worry About Suda Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn?
The good news is that in our view Suda Pharmaceuticals' cash burn situation gives shareholders real reason for optimism. Not only was its cash runway quite good, but its cash burn relative to its market cap was a real positive. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. On another note, Suda Pharmaceuticals has 6 warning signs (and 3 which are a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.
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Arovella Therapeutics Limited, a biotechnology company, focuses on the development of therapies for the treatment of cancer and conditions that affect the central nervous system in Australia and internationally.
Adequate balance sheet with limited growth.