Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Nighthawk Gold (TSE:NHK) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.
How Long Is Nighthawk Gold's 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 Nighthawk Gold last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$19m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through CA$14m. That means it had a cash runway of around 17 months as of June 2019. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Nighthawk Gold's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Nighthawk Gold didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. As it happens, the company's cash burn reduced by 8.2% over the last year, which suggests that management are maintaining a fairly steady rate of business development, albeit with a slight decrease in spending. 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.
How Hard Would It Be For Nighthawk Gold To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Nighthawk Gold is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of CA$91m, Nighthawk Gold's CA$14m in cash burn equates to about 15% of its market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.
Is Nighthawk Gold's Cash Burn A Worry?
Nighthawk Gold appears to be in pretty good health when it comes to its cash burn situation. Not only was its cash runway quite good, but its cash burn relative to its market cap was a real positive. We don't think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. Notably, our data indicates that Nighthawk Gold insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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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.