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, the natural question for Allakos (NASDAQ:ALLK) 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
How Long Is Allakos' Cash Runway?
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 March 2022, Allakos had cash of US$247m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$371m. That means it had a cash runway of around 8 months as of March 2022. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. However, if we extrapolate the company's recent cash burn trend, then it would have a longer cash run way. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Allakos' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Allakos 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. The skyrocketing cash burn up 159% year on year certainly tests our nerves. That sort of spending growth rate can't continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. 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 Allakos To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Allakos shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. 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.
Allakos has a market capitalisation of US$192m and burnt through US$371m last year, which is 193% of the company's market value. That suggests the company may have some funding difficulties, and we'd be very wary of the stock.
Is Allakos' Cash Burn A Worry?
As you can probably tell by now, we're rather concerned about Allakos' cash burn. Take, for example, its cash burn relative to its market cap, which suggests the company may have difficulty funding itself, in the future. And although we accept its cash runway wasn't as worrying as its cash burn relative to its market cap, it was still a real negative; as indeed were all the factors we considered in this article. The measures we've considered in this article lead us to believe its cash burn is actually quite concerning, and its weak cash position seems likely to cost shareholders one way or another. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 5 warning signs for Allakos (1 is concerning!) 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.
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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.
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