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 while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for Imperial Mining Group (CVE:IPG) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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 Imperial Mining Group's Cash Runway?
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 May 2019, Imperial Mining Group had CA$239k in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through CA$1.6m. Therefore, from May 2019 it had roughly 2 months of cash runway. To be frank we are alarmed by how short that cash runway is! You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Imperial Mining Group's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Imperial Mining Group didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 98%. Oftentimes, increased cash burn simply means a company is accelerating its business development, but one should always be mindful that this causes the cash runway to shrink. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Imperial Mining Group due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.
How Easily Can Imperial Mining Group Raise Cash?
Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Imperial Mining Group shareholders may wish to think ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of CA$4.0m, Imperial Mining Group's CA$1.6m in cash burn equates to about 41% of its market value. From this perspective, it seems that the company spent a hugh amount relative to its market value, and we'd be very wary of a painful capital raising.
How Risky Is Imperial Mining Group's Cash Burn Situation?
As you can probably tell by now, we're rather concerned about Imperial Mining Group's cash burn. 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 cash burn relative to its market cap is also a concern, and considering everything mentioned above, we're struggling to find much to be optimistic about. Looking at the metrics in this article all together, we consider its cash burn situation to be rather dangerous, and likely to cost shareholders one way or the other. Notably, our data indicates that Imperial Mining Group insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.
Of course Imperial Mining Group 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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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