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Can Sixty North Gold Mining (CSE:SXTY) Afford To Invest In Growth?

Simply Wall St

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. 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 Sixty North Gold Mining (CSE:SXTY) shareholders should be worried about its 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. Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.

Check out our latest analysis for Sixty North Gold Mining

Does Sixty North Gold Mining 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 Sixty North Gold Mining last reported its balance sheet in January 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$41k. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through CA$500k. That means it had a cash runway of under two months as of January 2020. To be frank we are alarmed by how short that cash runway is! You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

CNSX:SXTY Historical Debt May 22nd 2020

How Is Sixty North Gold Mining's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Sixty North Gold Mining isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage 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. We'd venture that the 70% reduction in cash burn over the last year shows that management are, at least, mindful of its ongoing need for cash. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Sixty North Gold Mining due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

Can Sixty North Gold Mining Raise More Cash Easily?

While we're comforted by the recent reduction evident from our analysis of Sixty North Gold Mining's cash burn, it is still worth considering how easily the company could raise more funds, if it wanted to accelerate spending to drive growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Since it has a market capitalisation of CA$2.1m, Sixty North Gold Mining's CA$500k in cash burn equates to about 24% of its 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.

Is Sixty North Gold Mining's Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Sixty North Gold Mining's cash burn, we think its cash burn reduction 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. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 5 warning signs for Sixty North Gold Mining you should be aware of, and 3 of them don't sit too well with us.

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. 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. Thank you for reading.