Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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. 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 this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Atlas Salt (CVE:SALT) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
When Might Atlas Salt Run Out Of Money?
A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. In June 2023, Atlas Salt had CA$15m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was CA$6.1m. That means it had a cash runway of about 2.5 years as of June 2023. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Atlas Salt's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Atlas Salt isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 77%. 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. Atlas Salt 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 Hard Would It Be For Atlas Salt To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Atlas Salt shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and 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.
Atlas Salt has a market capitalisation of CA$93m and burnt through CA$6.1m last year, which is 6.6% of the company's market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.
Is Atlas Salt's Cash Burn A Worry?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Atlas Salt is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. While its increasing cash burn wasn't great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 4 warning signs for Atlas Salt you should be aware of, and 2 of them don't sit too well with us.
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)
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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.