Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, although software-as-a-service business Salesforce.com lost money for years while it grew recurring revenue, if you held shares since 2005, you'd have done very well indeed. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Stillwater Critical Minerals (CVE:PGE) shareholders should 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). We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
How Long Is Stillwater Critical Minerals' Cash Runway?
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 2021, Stillwater Critical Minerals had CA$3.3m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through CA$6.4m. Therefore, from December 2021 it had roughly 6 months of cash runway. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Stillwater Critical Minerals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Stillwater Critical Minerals 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 4.0%, 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. Stillwater Critical Minerals makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.
Can Stillwater Critical Minerals Raise More Cash Easily?
While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, Stillwater Critical Minerals shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.
Stillwater Critical Minerals' cash burn of CA$6.4m is about 16% of its CA$40m market capitalisation. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.
How Risky Is Stillwater Critical Minerals' Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Stillwater Critical Minerals' cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its cash runway has us a bit worried. Considering all the measures mentioned in this report, we reckon that its cash burn is fairly risky, and if we held shares we'd be watching like a hawk for any deterioration. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 5 warning signs for Stillwater Critical Minerals (3 make us uncomfortable!) 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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