Stock Analysis

Anavex Life Sciences (NASDAQ:AVXL) Is In A Strong Position To Grow Its Business

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NasdaqGS:AVXL
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We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, Anavex Life Sciences (NASDAQ:AVXL) shareholders have done very well over the last year, with the share price soaring by 286%. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

Given its strong share price performance, we think it's worthwhile for Anavex Life Sciences shareholders to consider whether its cash burn is concerning. 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. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

Check out our latest analysis for Anavex Life Sciences

Does Anavex Life Sciences 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 December 2020, Anavex Life Sciences had cash of US$47m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$23m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of about 2.0 years as of December 2020. Importantly, though, analysts think that Anavex Life Sciences will reach cashflow breakeven before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqCM:AVXL Debt to Equity History April 16th 2021

How Is Anavex Life Sciences' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Anavex Life Sciences isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage 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 17% 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. 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 Easily Can Anavex Life Sciences Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Anavex Life Sciences shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Anavex Life Sciences' cash burn of US$23m is about 3.2% of its US$734m market capitalisation. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.

How Risky Is Anavex Life Sciences' Cash Burn Situation?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Anavex Life Sciences is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. While its increasing cash burn wasn't great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. There's no doubt that shareholders can take a lot of heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven before too long. After considering a range of factors in this article, we're pretty relaxed about its cash burn, since the company seems to be in a good position to continue to fund its growth. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for Anavex Life Sciences (of which 1 is significant!) you should know about.

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