Companies Like 4DS Memory (ASX:4DS) Are In A Position To Invest In Growth
Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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 should 4DS Memory (ASX:4DS) shareholders be worried about its 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). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
View our latest analysis for 4DS Memory
Does 4DS Memory Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at December 2021, 4DS Memory had cash of AU$7.3m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$4.9m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 18 months from December 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. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is 4DS Memory's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Although 4DS Memory reported revenue of AU$2.3k last year, it didn't actually have any revenue from operations. That means we consider it a pre-revenue business, and we will focus our growth analysis on cash burn, for now. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 6.8%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. 4DS Memory makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.
How Easily Can 4DS Memory Raise Cash?
While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, 4DS Memory shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$148m, 4DS Memory's AU$4.9m in cash burn equates to about 3.3% of its market value. 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.
How Risky Is 4DS Memory's Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of 4DS Memory's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 3 warning signs for 4DS Memory (of which 2 are potentially serious!) you should know about.
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.
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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.
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