There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Anavex Life Sciences (NASDAQ:AVXL) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
When Might Anavex Life Sciences Run Out Of Money?
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. As at December 2021, Anavex Life Sciences had cash of US$151m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$26m. So it had a cash runway of about 5.8 years from December 2021. Notably, however, analysts think that Anavex Life Sciences 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 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. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 11%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. 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?
While Anavex Life Sciences 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. 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$26m is about 3.2% of its US$821m 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 Anavex Life Sciences' Cash Burn Situation?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Anavex Life Sciences' cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. 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. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 3 warning signs for Anavex Life Sciences you should be aware of, and 1 of them doesn't sit too well with us.
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)
What are the risks and opportunities for Anavex Life Sciences?
Earnings are forecast to grow 53.03% per year
Makes less than USD$1m in revenue ($0)
Shareholders have been diluted in the past year
Volatile share price over the past 3 months
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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.
Anavex Life Sciences
Anavex Life Sciences Corp., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, engages in the development of drug candidates for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases.
Flawless balance sheet with high growth potential.