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We're Not Worried About Seagen's (NASDAQ:SGEN) Cash Burn

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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 while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So, the natural question for Seagen (NASDAQ:SGEN) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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). First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

View our latest analysis for Seagen

When Might Seagen Run Out Of Money?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. As at September 2022, Seagen had cash of US$1.8b and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$719m. Therefore, from September 2022 it had 2.5 years of cash runway. Notably, however, analysts think that Seagen will break even (at a free cash flow level) before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Well Is Seagen Growing?

One thing for shareholders to keep front in mind is that Seagen increased its cash burn by 780% in the last twelve months. While operating revenue was up over the same period, the 6.8% gain gives us scant comfort. Considering these two factors together makes us nervous about the direction the company seems to be heading. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

How Easily Can Seagen Raise Cash?

While Seagen seems to be in a fairly good position, 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. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and 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.

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Since it has a market capitalisation of US$23b, Seagen's US$719m in cash burn equates to about 3.1% of its 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 Seagen's Cash Burn?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Seagen is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. While we must concede that its increasing cash burn is a bit worrying, the other factors mentioned in this article provide great comfort when it comes to the cash burn. It's clearly very positive to see that analysts are forecasting the company will break even fairly soon. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we're not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Seagen that potential shareholders should take into account before putting money into a stock.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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