Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Citius Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CTXR) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
When Might Citius Pharmaceuticals Run Out Of Money?
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 June 2021, Citius Pharmaceuticals had cash of US$116m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. In the last year, its cash burn was US$22m. Therefore, from June 2021 it had 5.3 years of cash runway. Importantly, though, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that Citius Pharmaceuticals 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.
How Is Citius Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Citius Pharmaceuticals 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 34% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. 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 Hard Would It Be For Citius Pharmaceuticals To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Citius Pharmaceuticals 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. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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$220m, Citius Pharmaceuticals' US$22m in cash burn equates to about 10.0% of its market value. 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 Citius Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Situation?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Citius Pharmaceuticals 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 its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. One real positive is that at least one analyst is forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we're not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 3 warning signs for Citius Pharmaceuticals (2 don't sit too well with us!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course Citius Pharmaceuticals 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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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.