Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
So should Achieve Life Sciences (NASDAQ:ACHV) 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.
Does Achieve Life Sciences Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at March 2021, Achieve Life Sciences had cash of US$30m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$15m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 23 months from March 2021. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Achieve Life Sciences' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Achieve Life Sciences didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. With the cash burn rate up 4.7% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. 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 Achieve Life Sciences To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, Achieve Life Sciences shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. 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. 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 US$82m, Achieve Life Sciences' US$15m in cash burn equates to about 19% of its market value. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.
How Risky Is Achieve Life Sciences' Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Achieve Life Sciences' cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. While we're the kind of investors who are always a bit concerned about the risks involved with cash burning companies, the metrics we have discussed in this article leave us relatively comfortable about Achieve Life Sciences' situation. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for Achieve Life Sciences (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.
Of course Achieve Life Sciences 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.
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