Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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.
So should Africa Energy (CVE:AFE) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
How Long Is Africa Energy's Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Africa Energy last reported its balance sheet in December 2022, it had zero debt and cash worth US$6.8m. In the last year, its cash burn was US$11m. Therefore, from December 2022 it had roughly 7 months of cash runway. 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Africa Energy's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Africa Energy 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. Its cash burn positively exploded in the last year, up 229%. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company's cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
Can Africa Energy Raise More Cash Easily?
Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Africa Energy shareholders may wish to think ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. 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. 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).
Africa Energy has a market capitalisation of US$187m and burnt through US$11m last year, which is 6.0% of the company's market value. 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 Africa Energy's Cash Burn?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Africa Energy's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Summing up, we think the Africa Energy's cash burn is a risk, based on the factors we mentioned in this article. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 3 warning signs for Africa Energy (2 are potentially serious!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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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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