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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Klondike Gold (CVE:KG) 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'. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
How Long Is Klondike Gold's 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 November 2020, Klondike Gold had cash of CA$3.2m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was CA$2.4m. Therefore, from November 2020 it had roughly 16 months of cash runway. 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. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Klondike Gold's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Klondike Gold 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. While it hardly paints a picture of imminent growth, the fact that it has reduced its cash burn by 54% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
Can Klondike Gold Raise More Cash Easily?
There's no doubt Klondike Gold's rapidly reducing cash burn brings comfort, but even if it's only hypothetical, it's always worth asking how easily it could raise more money to fund further 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 comparing a company's annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).
Klondike Gold's cash burn of CA$2.4m is about 8.0% of its CA$30m market capitalisation. 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 Klondike Gold's Cash Burn?
The good news is that in our view Klondike Gold's cash burn situation gives shareholders real reason for optimism. Not only was its cash burn relative to its market cap quite good, but its cash burn reduction was a real positive. 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 Klondike Gold's situation. On another note, Klondike Gold has 4 warning signs (and 2 which are potentially serious) we think you should know about.
Of course Klondike Gold 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.
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.
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