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Active Biotech (STO:ACTI) Is In A Good Position To Deliver On Growth Plans

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. 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 Active Biotech (STO:ACTI) 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'. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

View our latest analysis for Active Biotech

Does Active Biotech Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at September 2019, Active Biotech had cash of kr70m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through kr35m. Therefore, from September 2019 it had 2.0 years of cash runway. That's decent, giving the company a couple years to develop its business. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

OM:ACTI Historical Debt, January 11th 2020

How Well Is Active Biotech Growing?

Active Biotech reduced its cash burn by 14% during the last year, which points to some degree of discipline. Unfortunately, however, operating revenue declined by 40% during the period. Considering both these metrics, we're a little concerned about how the company is developing. In reality, this article only makes a short study of the company's growth data. You can take a look at how Active Biotech has developed its business over time by checking this visualization of its revenue and earnings history.

How Easily Can Active Biotech Raise Cash?

Even though it seems like Active Biotech is developing its business nicely, we still like to consider how easily it could raise more money to accelerate growth. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. 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.

Active Biotech's cash burn of kr35m is about 8.7% of its kr401m market capitalisation. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.

How Risky Is Active Biotech's Cash Burn Situation?

Even though its falling revenue makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Active Biotech's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. For us, it's always important to consider risks around cash burn rates. But investors should look at a whole range of factors when researching a new stock. For example, it could be interesting to see how much the Active Biotech CEO receives in total remuneration.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.