We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
So, the natural question for Zevia PBC (NYSE:ZVIA) 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). Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
Does Zevia PBC Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at September 2021, Zevia PBC had cash of US$79m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$17m. Therefore, from September 2021 it had 4.8 years of cash runway. Notably, however, analysts think that Zevia PBC will break even (at a free cash flow level) before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Well Is Zevia PBC Growing?
Notably, Zevia PBC actually ramped up its cash burn very hard and fast in the last year, by 141%, signifying heavy investment in the business. While operating revenue was up over the same period, the 20% gain gives us scant comfort. Taken together, we think these growth metrics are a little worrying. 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 Zevia PBC To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Even though it seems like Zevia PBC is developing its business nicely, we still like to consider how easily it could raise more money to accelerate growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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 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.
Zevia PBC's cash burn of US$17m is about 2.6% of its US$647m market capitalisation. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.
Is Zevia PBC's Cash Burn A Worry?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Zevia PBC is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although we do find its increasing cash burn to be a bit of a negative, once we consider the other metrics mentioned in this article together, the overall picture is one we are comfortable with. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we're pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 2 warning signs for Zevia PBC that investors should know when investing in the stock.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, 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.
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