Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Millendo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MLND) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
Does Millendo Therapeutics Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. Millendo Therapeutics has such a small amount of debt that we'll set it aside, and focus on the US$50m in cash it held at June 2020. Importantly, its cash burn was US$38m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2020 it had roughly 16 months of cash runway. 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Millendo Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Millendo Therapeutics didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 7.8%, 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. 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.
Can Millendo Therapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?
Since its cash burn is increasing (albeit only slightly), Millendo Therapeutics shareholders should still be mindful of the possibility it will require more cash in the future. 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.
Millendo Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$34m and burnt through US$38m last year, which is 113% of the company's market value. 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 Millendo Therapeutics' Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Millendo Therapeutics' cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap has us a bit worried. After looking at that range of measures, we think shareholders should be extremely attentive to how the company is using its cash, as the cash burn makes us uncomfortable. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 3 warning signs for Millendo Therapeutics that investors should know when investing in the stock.
Of course Millendo Therapeutics 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.
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. 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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