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.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Star Diamond (TSE:DIAM) shareholders should 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. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
How Long Is Star Diamond's Cash Runway?
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. In March 2021, Star Diamond had CA$5.1m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was CA$5.3m. Therefore, from March 2021 it had roughly 12 months of cash runway. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Star Diamond's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Star Diamond isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 80%. While this spending increase is no doubt intended to drive growth, if the trend continues the company's cash runway will shrink very quickly. Star Diamond makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.
How Easily Can Star Diamond Raise Cash?
Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Star Diamond shareholders may wish to think 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 and 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 CA$84m, Star Diamond's CA$5.3m in cash burn equates to about 6.3% of its market value. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.
How Risky Is Star Diamond's Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Star Diamond's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. 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, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Star Diamond (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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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