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Here's Why Tanga Resources (ASX:TRL) Must Use Its Cash Wisely

Simply Wall St
·4-min read

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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So should Tanga Resources (ASX:TRL) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

View our latest analysis for Tanga Resources

When Might Tanga Resources Run Out Of Money?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Tanga Resources last reported its balance sheet in December 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$1.3m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$1.9m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 8 months from December 2019. 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

ASX:TRL Historical Debt April 30th 2020
ASX:TRL Historical Debt April 30th 2020

How Is Tanga Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Tanga Resources didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. As it happens, the company's cash burn reduced by 20% over the last year, which suggests that management are mindful of the possibility of running out of cash. Tanga Resources 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.

Can Tanga Resources Raise More Cash Easily?

While Tanga Resources is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Tanga Resources's cash burn of AU$1.9m is about 153% of its AU$1.2m market capitalisation. Given just how high that expenditure is, relative to the company's market value, we think there's an elevated risk of funding distress, and we would be very nervous about holding the stock.

How Risky Is Tanga Resources's Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of Tanga Resources's cash burn, we think its cash burn reduction was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap has us a bit worried. After considering the data discussed in this article, we don't have a lot of confidence that its cash burn rate is prudent, as it seems like it might need more cash soon. On another note, Tanga Resources has 6 warning signs (and 4 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about.

Of course Tanga Resources 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.