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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, 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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) shareholders 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). Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
How Long Is Encounter Resources' 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. In December 2020, Encounter Resources had AU$7.6m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$4.2m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 22 months from December 2020. 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Encounter Resources' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
While Encounter Resources did record statutory revenue of AU$180k over the last year, it didn't have any revenue from operations. That means we consider it a pre-revenue business, and we will focus our growth analysis on cash burn, for now. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 27%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Encounter Resources due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.
How Hard Would It Be For Encounter Resources To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Encounter Resources 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. 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.
Encounter Resources' cash burn of AU$4.2m is about 5.3% of its AU$79m 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.
Is Encounter Resources' Cash Burn A Worry?
On this analysis of Encounter Resources' cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. On another note, Encounter Resources has 5 warning signs (and 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) we think you should know about.
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.
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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