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Is Arcadia Biosciences (NASDAQ:RKDA) In A Good Position To Invest In Growth?

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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

So, the natural question for Arcadia Biosciences (NASDAQ:RKDA) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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 Arcadia Biosciences

Does Arcadia Biosciences Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. Arcadia Biosciences has such a small amount of debt that we'll set it aside, and focus on the US$31m in cash it held at September 2019. In the last year, its cash burn was US$16m. Therefore, from September 2019 it had roughly 23 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

NasdaqCM:RKDA Historical Debt, December 17th 2019
NasdaqCM:RKDA Historical Debt, December 17th 2019

How Well Is Arcadia Biosciences Growing?

Some investors might find it troubling that Arcadia Biosciences is actually increasing its cash burn, which is up 16% in the last year. It's even more troubling to see that operating revenue fell 51% during the period. Taken together, we think these growth metrics are a little worrying. 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.

How Easily Can Arcadia Biosciences Raise Cash?

While Arcadia Biosciences seems to be in a fairly good position, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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$48m, Arcadia Biosciences's US$16m in cash burn equates to about 33% of its market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.

Is Arcadia Biosciences's Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Arcadia Biosciences's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its falling revenue has us a bit worried. Looking at the factors mentioned in this short report, we do think that its cash burn is a bit risky, and it does make us slightly nervous about the stock. Notably, our data indicates that Arcadia Biosciences insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

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.