Stock Analysis

We're Hopeful That Allakos (NASDAQ:ALLK) Will Use Its Cash Wisely

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NasdaqGS:ALLK
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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. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Allakos (NASDAQ:ALLK) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for Allakos

Does Allakos Have A Long Cash Runway?

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, Allakos had cash of US$506m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$195m. Therefore, from September 2021 it had 2.6 years of cash runway. Importantly, analysts think that Allakos will reach cashflow breakeven in 3 years. That means unless the company reduces its cash burn quickly, it may well look to raise more cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:ALLK Debt to Equity History December 1st 2021

How Is Allakos' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Allakos 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. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 98%. Oftentimes, increased cash burn simply means a company is accelerating its business development, but one should always be mindful that this causes the cash runway to shrink. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.

How Hard Would It Be For Allakos To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Allakos shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Allakos' cash burn of US$195m is about 4.6% of its US$4.3b 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.

How Risky Is Allakos' Cash Burn Situation?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Allakos 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 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. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for Allakos (of which 1 doesn't sit too well with us!) 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)

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