Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for Fission Uranium (TSE:FCU) 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 Fission Uranium's Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Fission Uranium last reported its balance sheet in June 2022, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$37m. In the last year, its cash burn was CA$24m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 18 months from June 2022. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. Importantly, if we extrapolate recent cash burn trends, the cash runway would be noticeably longer. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Fission Uranium's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Fission Uranium 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. During the last twelve months, its cash burn actually ramped up 80%. While this spending increase is no doubt intended to drive growth, if the trend continues the company's cash runway will shrink very quickly. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
Can Fission Uranium Raise More Cash Easily?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Fission Uranium shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund 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.
Fission Uranium has a market capitalisation of CA$518m and burnt through CA$24m last year, which is 4.7% 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 Fission Uranium's Cash Burn?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Fission Uranium's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. While we're the kind of investors who are always a bit concerned about the risks involved with cash burning companies, the metrics we have discussed in this article leave us relatively comfortable about Fission Uranium's situation. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 2 warning signs for Fission Uranium (1 is potentially serious!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course Fission Uranium 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.
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.
Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here