We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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 the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
So, the natural question for Adaptive Biotechnologies (NASDAQ:ADPT) 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). We’ll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
How Long Is Adaptive Biotechnologies’ Cash Runway?
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 September 2021, Adaptive Biotechnologies had cash of US$415m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$241m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 21 months as of September 2021. That’s not too bad, but it’s fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. Importantly, if we extrapolate recent cash burn trends, the cash runway would be a lot longer. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Well Is Adaptive Biotechnologies Growing?
Adaptive Biotechnologies actually ramped up its cash burn by a whopping 62% in the last year, which shows it is boosting investment in the business. While that certainly gives us pause for thought, we take a lot of comfort in the strong annual revenue growth of 59%. Considering the factors above, the company doesn’t fare badly when it comes to assessing how it is changing over time. 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.
How Easily Can Adaptive Biotechnologies Raise Cash?
While Adaptive Biotechnologies seems to be in a fairly good position, it’s still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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.
Adaptive Biotechnologies has a market capitalisation of US$3.3b and burnt through US$241m last year, which is 7.4% 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 Adaptive Biotechnologies’ Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Adaptive Biotechnologies’ cash burn, we think its revenue growth was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we’re not overly concerned about the company’s cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. Taking an in-depth view of risks, we’ve identified 3 warning signs for Adaptive Biotechnologies that you should be aware of before investing.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, 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.