There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for Medigene (ETR:MDG1) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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). First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
When Might Medigene Run Out Of Money?
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. As at June 2021, Medigene had cash of €22m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was €17m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 16 months from June 2021. Notably, however, analysts think that Medigene will break even (at a free cash flow level) before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is Medigene Growing?
It was fairly positive to see that Medigene reduced its cash burn by 34% during the last year. Having said that, the flat operating revenue was a bit mundane. Considering the factors above, the company doesn’t fare badly when it comes to assessing how it is changing over time. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
How Hard Would It Be For Medigene To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Medigene seems to be in a fairly good position, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of €88m, Medigene's €17m in cash burn equates to about 19% of its 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.
So, Should We Worry About Medigene's Cash Burn?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Medigene's cash burn. In particular, we think its cash burn reduction stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. On this analysis its revenue growth was its weakest feature, but we are not concerned about it. There's no doubt that shareholders can take a lot of heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven before too long. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we're not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. On another note, Medigene has 4 warning signs (and 1 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about.
If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.
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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.