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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So should IsoRay (NYSEMKT:ISR) 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
How Long Is IsoRay's Cash Runway?
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. When IsoRay last reported its balance sheet in March 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$2.4m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$4.1m. That means it had a cash runway of around 7 months as of March 2020. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Well Is IsoRay Growing?
It was fairly positive to see that IsoRay reduced its cash burn by 31% during the last year. And considering that its operating revenue gained 33% during that period, that's great to see. It seems to be growing nicely. 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.
Can IsoRay Raise More Cash Easily?
Since IsoRay revenue has been falling, the market will likely be considering how it can raise more cash if need be. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. 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.
IsoRay has a market capitalisation of US$47m and burnt through US$4.1m last year, which is 8.7% of the company's 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 IsoRay's Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of IsoRay's cash burn, we think its revenue growth was reassuring, while its cash runway has us a bit worried. Even though we don't think it has a problem with its cash burn, the analysis we've done in this article does suggest that shareholders should give some careful thought to the potential cost of raising more money in the future. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 2 warning signs for IsoRay you should be aware of, and 1 of them makes us a bit uncomfortable.
Of course IsoRay 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. 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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