We Think AEX Gold (CVE:AEX) Needs To Drive Business Growth Carefully

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, although software-as-a-service business Salesforce.com lost money for years while it grew recurring revenue, if you held shares since 2005, you’d have done very well indeed. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So, the natural question for AEX Gold (CVE:AEX) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company’s annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the ‘cash burn’. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.

See our latest analysis for AEX Gold

Does AEX Gold Have A Long 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. When AEX Gold last reported its balance sheet in September 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$3.2m. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$3.4m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from September 2019 it had roughly 11 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. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

TSXV:AEX Historical Debt, January 15th 2020
TSXV:AEX Historical Debt, January 15th 2020

How Is AEX Gold’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because AEX Gold 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. As it happens, the company’s cash burn reduced by 19% over the last year, which suggests that management may be mindful of the risks of their depleting cash reserves. AEX Gold 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 AEX Gold Raise Cash?

While AEX Gold 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. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to 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.

AEX Gold has a market capitalisation of CA$27m and burnt through CA$3.4m last year, which is 13% of the company’s market value. Given that situation, it’s fair to say the company wouldn’t have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.

Is AEX Gold’s Cash Burn A Worry?

Even though its cash runway makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought AEX Gold’s cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Even though we don’t think it has a problem with its cash burn, the analysis we’ve done in this article does suggest that shareholders should give some careful thought to the potential cost of raising more money in the future. Notably, our data indicates that AEX Gold insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

Of course AEX Gold may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

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.

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