We Think Soliton (NASDAQ:SOLY) Needs To Drive Business Growth Carefully

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. Indeed, Soliton (NASDAQ:SOLY) stock is up 163% in the last year, providing strong gains for shareholders. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

Given its strong share price performance, we think it’s worthwhile for Soliton shareholders to consider whether its cash burn is concerning. 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’s cash, relative to its cash burn.

View our latest analysis for Soliton

How Long Is Soliton’s Cash Runway?

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. In December 2019, Soliton had US$12m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was US$11m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 12 months from December 2019. That’s not too bad, but it’s fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:SOLY Historical Debt, March 5th 2020
NasdaqCM:SOLY Historical Debt, March 5th 2020

How Is Soliton’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Soliton isn’t currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 147%. That sort of spending growth rate can’t continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

Can Soliton Raise More Cash Easily?

While Soliton does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. 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 to fund 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.

Soliton’s cash burn of US$11m is about 5.4% of its US$211m market capitalisation. That’s a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.

So, Should We Worry About Soliton’s Cash Burn?

Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Soliton’s cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. We don’t think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. 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 Soliton’s CEO gets paid each year.

Of course Soliton 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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