There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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, the natural question for GOLO Mobile (CVE:GOLO) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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's cash, relative to its cash burn.
How Long Is GOLO Mobile's Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at June 2019, GOLO Mobile had cash of CA$7.3m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$14m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 6 months of cash runway. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. However, if we extrapolate the company's recent cash burn trend, then it would have a longer cash run way. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is GOLO Mobile's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In our view, GOLO Mobile doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just CA$114k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 26%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. GOLO Mobile 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 GOLO Mobile To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, GOLO Mobile shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. 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$46m, GOLO Mobile's CA$14m in cash burn equates to about 30% of its market value. That's not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year's growth at the current share price, you'd likely witness fairly costly dilution.
So, Should We Worry About GOLO Mobile's Cash Burn?
GOLO Mobile is not in a great position when it comes to its cash burn situation. Although we can understand if some shareholders find its increasing cash burn acceptable, we can't ignore the fact that we consider its cash runway to be downright troublesome. Considering all the measures mentioned in this report, we reckon that its cash burn is fairly risky, and if we held shares we'd be watching like a hawk for any deterioration. We think it's very important to consider the cash burn for loss making companies, but other considerations such as the amount the CEO is paid can also enhance your understanding of the business. You can click here to see what GOLO Mobile's CEO gets paid each year.
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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