Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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 should Motor & General Finance (NSE:MOTOGENFIN) 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
When Might Motor & General Finance Run Out Of Money?
You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. As at March 2019, Motor & General Finance had cash of ₹3.3m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. In the last year, its cash burn was ₹38m. That means it had a cash runway of under two months as of March 2019. It's extremely surprising to us that the company has allowed its cash runway to get that short! Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
Is Motor & General Finance's Revenue Growing?
We're hesitant to extrapolate on the recent trend to assess its cash burn, because Motor & General Finance actually had positive free cash flow last year, so operating revenue growth is probably our best bet to measure, right now. Regrettably, the company's operating revenue moved in the wrong direction over the last twelve months, declining by 29%. Of course, we've only taken a quick look at the stock's growth metrics, here. This graph of historic earnings and revenue shows how Motor & General Finance is building its business over time.
How Easily Can Motor & General Finance Raise Cash?
Given its problematic fall in revenue, Motor & General Finance shareholders should consider how the company could fund its growth, if it turns out it needs 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 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).
Since it has a market capitalisation of ₹658m, Motor & General Finance's ₹38m in cash burn equates to about 5.8% of its 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 Motor & General Finance's Cash Burn?
On this analysis of Motor & General Finance's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its cash runway has us a bit worried. After looking at that range of measures, we think shareholders should be extremely attentive to how the company is using its cash, as the cash burn makes us uncomfortable. While we always like to monitor cash burn for early stage companies, qualitative factors such as the CEO pay can also shed light on the situation. Click here to see free what the Motor & General Finance CEO is paid..
If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.
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