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Can Feedback (LON:FDBK) Afford To Invest In Growth?

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. But while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

So, the natural question for Feedback (LON:FDBK) 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'. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Feedback

Does Feedback Have A Long 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. When Feedback last reported its balance sheet in November 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth UK£1.5m. Importantly, its cash burn was UK£1.7m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 11 months from November 2019. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

AIM:FDBK Historical Debt May 20th 2020
AIM:FDBK Historical Debt May 20th 2020

How Is Feedback's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, Feedback doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just UK£596k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 176%. That sort of spending growth rate can't continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. Feedback makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

How Easily Can Feedback Raise Cash?

Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Feedback shareholders may wish to think ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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 UK£5.3m, Feedback's UK£1.7m in cash burn equates to about 32% 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.

How Risky Is Feedback's Cash Burn Situation?

We must admit that we don't think Feedback is in a very strong position, when it comes to its cash burn. Although we can understand if some shareholders find its cash runway acceptable, we can't ignore the fact that we consider its increasing cash burn to be downright troublesome. Considering all the measures mentioned in this report, we reckon that its cash burn is fairly risky, and if we held shares we'd be watching like a hawk for any deterioration. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 6 warning signs for Feedback (of which 4 make us uncomfortable!) you should know about.

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

Love or hate this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email 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. 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. Thank you for reading.