There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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 while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.
So, the natural question for Concert Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CNCE) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
Does Concert Pharmaceuticals Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Concert Pharmaceuticals last reported its balance sheet in March 2021, it had zero debt and cash worth US$115m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$72m. Therefore, from March 2021 it had roughly 19 months of cash runway. 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.
How Is Concert Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In our view, Concert Pharmaceuticals doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just US$7.9m in the last twelve months. As a result, we think it's a bit early to focus on the revenue growth, so we'll limit ourselves to looking at how the cash burn is changing over time. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 9.7%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. 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 Concert Pharmaceuticals To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Since its cash burn is increasing (albeit only slightly), Concert Pharmaceuticals shareholders should still be mindful of the possibility it will require more cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund 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.
Concert Pharmaceuticals has a market capitalisation of US$128m and burnt through US$72m last year, which is 56% of the company's market value. That's high expenditure relative to the value of the entire company, so if it does have to issue shares to fund more growth, that could end up really hurting shareholders returns (through significant dilution).
So, Should We Worry About Concert Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn?
Even though its cash burn relative to its market cap makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Concert Pharmaceuticals' cash runway was relatively promising. Looking at the factors mentioned in this short report, we do think that its cash burn is a bit risky, and it does make us slightly nervous about the stock. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Concert Pharmaceuticals that potential shareholders should take into account before putting money into a stock.
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)
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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. 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.
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