There’s no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. 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 Edesa Biotech (NASDAQ:EDSA) 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). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.
When Might Edesa Biotech Run Out Of Money?
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. As at December 2022, Edesa Biotech had cash of US$8.3m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$11m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 9 months from December 2022. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Edesa Biotech’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Edesa Biotech 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 22% over the last year, which suggests that management are mindful of the possibility of running out of cash. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
How Hard Would It Be For Edesa Biotech To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Edesa Biotech 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 and 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 US$29m, Edesa Biotech’s US$11m in cash burn equates to about 38% of its market value. That’s not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year’s growth at the current share price, you’d likely witness fairly costly dilution.
So, Should We Worry About Edesa Biotech’s Cash Burn?
On this analysis of Edesa Biotech’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. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 7 warning signs for Edesa Biotech (4 are potentially serious!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course Edesa Biotech 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.
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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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