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Is Bolt Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:BOLT) In A Good Position To Invest In Growth?

There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Bolt Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:BOLT) shareholders should 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. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for Bolt Biotherapeutics

When Might Bolt Biotherapeutics Run Out Of Money?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. As at September 2023, Bolt Biotherapeutics had cash of US$120m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$74m. Therefore, from September 2023 it had roughly 20 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Well Is Bolt Biotherapeutics Growing?

Bolt Biotherapeutics reduced its cash burn by 6.5% during the last year, which points to some degree of discipline. On top of that, operating revenue was up 49%, making for a heartening combination We think it is growing rather well, upon reflection. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.

How Hard Would It Be For Bolt Biotherapeutics To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Bolt Biotherapeutics seems to be in a fairly good position, in terms of cash burn, but we still think it's worthwhile considering how easily it could raise more money if it wanted to. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Bolt Biotherapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$36m and burnt through US$74m last year, which is 205% of the company's market value. Given just how high that expenditure is, relative to the company's market value, we think there's an elevated risk of funding distress, and we would be very nervous about holding the stock.

Is Bolt Biotherapeutics' Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Bolt Biotherapeutics' cash burn, we think its revenue growth was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap 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. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 3 warning signs for Bolt Biotherapeutics you should be aware of, and 1 of them is concerning.

Of course Bolt Biotherapeutics 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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