There’s no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. But while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.
So should Eastern Platinum (TSE:ELR) shareholders be worried about its 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. Let’s start with an examination of the business’ cash, relative to its cash burn.
When Might Eastern Platinum Run Out Of Money?
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. As at June 2022, Eastern Platinum had cash of US$6.4m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$5.3m. That means it had a cash runway of around 15 months as of June 2022. 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. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
Eastern Platinum reduced its cash burn by 4.9% during the last year, which points to some degree of discipline. However, operating revenue was basically flat over that time period. In light of the data above, we’re fairly sanguine about the business growth trajectory. In reality, this article only makes a short study of the company’s growth data. This graph of historic earnings and revenue shows how Eastern Platinum is building its business over time.
How Easily Can Eastern Platinum Raise Cash?
Even though it seems like Eastern Platinum is developing its business nicely, we still like to consider how easily it could raise more money to accelerate growth. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future growth. By comparing a company’s annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).
Since it has a market capitalisation of US$27m, Eastern Platinum’s US$5.3m in cash burn equates to about 19% 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 Eastern Platinum’s Cash Burn?
The good news is that in our view Eastern Platinum’s cash burn situation gives shareholders real reason for optimism. One the one hand we have its solid cash burn reduction, while on the other it can also boast very strong cash runway. 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. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company’s operations, and we’ve picked out 1 warning sign for Eastern Platinum that investors should know when investing in the stock.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.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.
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