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 the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
So should Bluestone Resources (CVE:BSR) shareholders be worried about its 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). Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.
Does Bluestone Resources Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. When Bluestone Resources last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$12m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$21m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 7 months from June 2019. Notably, analysts forecast that Bluestone Resources will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 3 years. Essentially, that means the company will either reduce its cash burn, or else require more cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Bluestone Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Bluestone Resources 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 30%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. 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 Hard Would It Be For Bluestone Resources To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Bluestone Resources shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. 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 to drive growth. By comparing a company's annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).
Bluestone Resources has a market capitalisation of CA$88m and burnt through US$21m last year, which is 32% of the company's market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.
How Risky Is Bluestone Resources's Cash Burn Situation?
We must admit that we don't think Bluestone Resources is in a very strong position, when it comes to its cash burn. Although we can understand if some shareholders find its increasing cash burn acceptable, we can't ignore the fact that we consider its cash runway to be downright troublesome. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. 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. While it's important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Bluestone Resources insiders have been trading shares in the company. Click here to find out if they have been buying or selling.
Of course Bluestone 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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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. Thank you for reading.