Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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 history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for 5E Advanced Materials (ASX:5EA) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we’ll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). Let’s start with an examination of the business’ cash, relative to its cash burn.
How Long Is 5E Advanced Materials’ 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. As at March 2022, 5E Advanced Materials had cash of US$41m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. In the last year, its cash burn was US$35m. That means it had a cash runway of around 14 months as of March 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is 5E Advanced Materials’ Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
While 5E Advanced Materials did record statutory revenue of US$50k over the last year, it didn’t have any revenue from operations. To us, that makes it a pre-revenue company, so we’ll look to its cash burn trajectory as an assessment of its cash burn situation. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 106%. It’s fair to say that sort of rate of increase cannot be maintained for very long, without putting pressure on the balance sheet. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
Can 5E Advanced Materials Raise More Cash Easily?
Given its cash burn trajectory, 5E Advanced Materials 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. 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.
5E Advanced Materials’ cash burn of US$35m is about 6.4% of its US$549m market capitalisation. That’s a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.
Is 5E Advanced Materials’ Cash Burn A Worry?
On this analysis of 5E Advanced Materials’ cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn 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 3 warning signs for 5E Advanced Materials you should be aware of, and 2 of them don’t sit too well with us.
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. 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.