Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Arrival (NASDAQ:ARVL) 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). Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
How Long Is Arrival's Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In September 2021, Arrival had €381m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was €419m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from September 2021 it had roughly 11 months of cash runway. Notably, analysts forecast that Arrival will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 3 years. That means unless the company reduces its cash burn quickly, it may well look to raise more cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Arrival's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Arrival didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Its cash burn positively exploded in the last year, up 226%. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company's cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Easily Can Arrival Raise Cash?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Arrival shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive growth. By looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.
Arrival has a market capitalisation of €1.9b and burnt through €419m last year, which is 22% of the company's market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.
So, Should We Worry About Arrival's Cash Burn?
We must admit that we don't think Arrival is in a very strong position, when it comes to its cash burn. While its cash burn relative to its market cap wasn't too bad, its increasing cash burn does leave us rather nervous. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. Looking at the factors mentioned in this short report, we do think that its cash burn is a bit risky, and it does make us slightly nervous about the stock. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 3 warning signs for Arrival (of which 2 don't sit too well with us!) you should know about.
Of course Arrival may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.
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.