Here's Why Nanoveu (ASX:NVU) Must Use Its Cash Wisely

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 20, 2020

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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 Nanoveu (ASX:NVU) 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). We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for Nanoveu

How Long Is Nanoveu's Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In June 2019, Nanoveu had AU$3.5m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$3.1m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 13 months from June 2019. 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.

ASX:NVU Historical Debt, February 21st 2020

How Is Nanoveu's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Whilst it's great to see that Nanoveu has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced AU$23k, 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. Its cash burn positively exploded in the last year, up 1314%. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company's cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Nanoveu due to its lack of significant operating revenues. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

Can Nanoveu Raise More Cash Easily?

While Nanoveu 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. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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$4.6m, Nanoveu's AU$3.1m in cash burn equates to about 68% of its market value. That's very high expenditure relative to the company's size, suggesting it is an extremely high risk stock.

How Risky Is Nanoveu's Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of Nanoveu's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Once we consider the metrics mentioned in this article together, we're left with very little confidence in the company's ability to manage its cash burn, and we think it will probably need more money. When you don't have traditional metrics like earnings per share and free cash flow to value a company, many are extra motivated to consider qualitative factors such as whether insiders are buying or selling shares. Please Note: Nanoveu insiders have been trading shares, according to our data. Click here to check whether insiders have been buying or selling.

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)

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.

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