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Can Bryah Resources (ASX:BYH) Afford To Invest In Growth?

Simply Wall St

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. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

So should Bryah Resources (ASX:BYH) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Bryah Resources

When Might Bryah Resources Run Out Of Money?

A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. In June 2019, Bryah Resources had AU$577k in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$2.3m. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 3 months of cash runway. With a cash runway that short, we strongly believe that the company must raise cash or else douse its cash burn promptly. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

ASX:BYH Historical Debt, January 4th 2020

How Is Bryah Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, Bryah Resources doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just AU$524k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. With the cash burn rate up 9.3% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. Bryah Resources makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

Can Bryah Resources Raise More Cash Easily?

While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, Bryah Resources shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. 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 AU$4.0m, Bryah Resources's AU$2.3m in cash burn equates to about 56% of its market value. That's high expenditure relative to the value of the entire company, so if it does have to issue shares to fund more growth, that could end up really hurting shareholders returns (through significant dilution).

So, Should We Worry About Bryah Resources's Cash Burn?

There are no prizes for guessing that we think Bryah Resources's cash burn is a bit of a worry. Take, for example, its cash runway, which suggests the company may have difficulty funding itself, in the future. While not as bad as its cash runway, its increasing cash burn is also a concern, and considering everything mentioned above, we're struggling to find much to be optimistic about. The measures we've considered in this article lead us to believe its cash burn is actually quite concerning, and its weak cash position seems likely to cost shareholders one way or another. While it's important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Bryah Resources insiders have been trading shares in the company. Click here to find out if they have been buying or selling.

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.