There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. Indeed, Andromeda Metals (ASX:ADN) stock is up 482% in the last year, providing strong gains for shareholders. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
In light of its strong share price run, we think now is a good time to investigate how risky Andromeda Metals's cash burn is. 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's cash, relative to its cash burn.
When Might Andromeda Metals Run Out Of Money?
You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. In December 2019, Andromeda Metals had AU$4.4m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$2.3m. Therefore, from December 2019 it had roughly 23 months of cash runway. 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. However, if we extrapolate the company's recent cash burn trend, then it would have a longer cash run way. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Andromeda Metals's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In our view, Andromeda Metals doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just AU$7.4k in the last twelve months. As a result, we think it's a bit early to focus on the revenue growth, so we'll limit ourselves to looking at how the cash burn is changing over time. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 12%, 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.
How Easily Can Andromeda Metals Raise Cash?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Andromeda Metals shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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.
Andromeda Metals has a market capitalisation of AU$45m and burnt through AU$2.3m last year, which is 5.0% of the company's market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.
So, Should We Worry About Andromeda Metals's Cash Burn?
On this analysis of Andromeda Metals'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. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we're not overly concerned about the company's cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 3 warning signs for Andromeda Metals (1 is potentially serious!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.