Stock Analysis

Is NEO Battery Materials (CVE:NBM) In A Good Position To Invest In Growth?

TSXV:NBM
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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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So should NEO Battery Materials (CVE:NBM) 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). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

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Does NEO Battery Materials Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When NEO Battery Materials last reported its balance sheet in August 2022, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$2.4m. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$2.0m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 14 months as of August 2022. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

debt-equity-history-analysis
TSXV:NBM Debt to Equity History January 21st 2023

How Is NEO Battery Materials' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because NEO Battery Materials 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 71%. Oftentimes, increased cash burn simply means a company is accelerating its business development, but one should always be mindful that this causes the cash runway to shrink. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of NEO Battery Materials 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 Easily Can NEO Battery Materials Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, NEO Battery Materials shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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$29m, NEO Battery Materials' CA$2.0m in cash burn equates to about 7.0% 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.

Is NEO Battery Materials' Cash Burn A Worry?

Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought NEO Battery Materials' 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. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 6 warning signs for NEO Battery Materials (of which 3 are a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

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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.