There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. By way of example, Doxa (STO:DOXA) has seen its share price rise 472% over the last year, delighting many shareholders. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So notwithstanding the buoyant share price, we think it's well worth asking whether Doxa's cash burn is too risky. 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
When Might Doxa Run Out Of Money?
A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. As at September 2021, Doxa had cash of kr195m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was kr17m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of very many years as of September 2021. While this is only one measure of its cash burn situation, it certainly gives us the impression that holders have nothing to worry about. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is Doxa Growing?
Some investors might find it troubling that Doxa is actually increasing its cash burn, which is up 17% in the last year. In light of that, the flat year on year operating leverage is a bit off-putting. In light of the data above, we're fairly sanguine about the business growth trajectory. Of course, we've only taken a quick look at the stock's growth metrics, here. This graph of historic earnings and revenue shows how Doxa is building its business over time.
How Hard Would It Be For Doxa To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Even though it seems like Doxa is developing its business nicely, we still like to consider how easily it could raise more money to accelerate 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 and fund 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).
Doxa's cash burn of kr17m is about 0.8% of its kr2.2b market capitalisation. So it could almost certainly just borrow a little to fund another year's growth, or else easily raise the cash by issuing a few shares.
Is Doxa's Cash Burn A Worry?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Doxa is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. 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. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for Doxa (of which 2 are significant!) 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)
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.