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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Oyster Point Pharma (NASDAQ:OYST) 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 Oyster Point Pharma 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 March 2021, Oyster Point Pharma had cash of US$176m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$65m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from March 2021 it had 2.7 years of cash runway. Notably, analysts forecast that Oyster Point Pharma will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 3 years. That means it doesn't have a great deal of breathing room, but it shouldn't really need more cash, considering that cash burn should be continually reducing. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Oyster Point Pharma's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Oyster Point Pharma 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 36%, 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.
Can Oyster Point Pharma Raise More Cash Easily?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Oyster Point Pharma 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of US$462m, Oyster Point Pharma's US$65m in cash burn equates to about 14% of its market value. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.
So, Should We Worry About Oyster Point Pharma's Cash Burn?
On this analysis of Oyster Point Pharma's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. 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. Taking an in-depth view of risks, we've identified 3 warning signs for Oyster Point Pharma that you should be aware of before investing.
If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.
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