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, 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.
So, the natural question for Caravel Minerals (ASX:CVV) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
How Long Is Caravel Minerals' Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Caravel Minerals last reported its balance sheet in December 2022, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$13m. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$10m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 15 months from December 2022. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Caravel Minerals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Caravel Minerals isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Even though it doesn't get us excited, the 24% reduction in cash burn year on year does suggest the company can continue operating for quite some time. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Easily Can Caravel Minerals Raise Cash?
Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Caravel Minerals to raise more cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$94m, Caravel Minerals' AU$10m in cash burn equates to about 11% of its market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.
Is Caravel Minerals' Cash Burn A Worry?
Caravel Minerals appears to be in pretty good health when it comes to its cash burn situation. Not only was its cash burn reduction quite good, but its cash burn relative to its market cap was a real positive. 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. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 5 warning signs for Caravel Minerals (2 are significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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.