Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. Indeed, 4DS Memory (ASX:4DS) stock is up 209% in the last year, providing strong gains for shareholders. 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.
Given its strong share price performance, we think it's worthwhile for 4DS Memory shareholders to consider whether its cash burn is concerning. 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.
How Long Is 4DS Memory's Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In June 2021, 4DS Memory had AU$4.3m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$5.6m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 9 months from June 2021. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is 4DS Memory's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
While 4DS Memory did record statutory revenue of AU$213k 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. With the cash burn rate up 48% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of 4DS Memory 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 Hard Would It Be For 4DS Memory To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, 4DS Memory shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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).
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$192m, 4DS Memory's AU$5.6m in cash burn equates to about 2.9% of its market value. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.
How Risky Is 4DS Memory's Cash Burn Situation?
Even though its cash runway makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought 4DS Memory's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. We don't think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. On another note, 4DS Memory has 4 warning signs (and 3 which are a bit unpleasant) we think 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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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