Will Satsuma Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:STSA) Spend Its Cash Wisely?

September 02, 2022
  •  Updated
November 14, 2022
NasdaqGM:STSA
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Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So, the natural question for Satsuma Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:STSA) 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

View our latest analysis for Satsuma Pharmaceuticals

How Long Is Satsuma Pharmaceuticals' Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. In June 2022, Satsuma Pharmaceuticals had US$68m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was US$50m. That means it had a cash runway of around 16 months as of June 2022. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGM:STSA Debt to Equity History September 2nd 2022

How Is Satsuma Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Satsuma Pharmaceuticals 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. With the cash burn rate up 12% 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 Satsuma Pharmaceuticals Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Satsuma Pharmaceuticals 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. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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.

Satsuma Pharmaceuticals has a market capitalisation of US$214m and burnt through US$50m last year, which is 24% of the company's market value. That's not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year's growth at the current share price, you'd likely witness fairly costly dilution.

Is Satsuma Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn A Worry?

Even though its cash burn relative to its market cap makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Satsuma Pharmaceuticals' cash runway was relatively promising. We don't think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Satsuma Pharmaceuticals (2 are a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course Satsuma 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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