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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
So, the natural question for Fenix Resources (ASX:FEX) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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'.
How Long Is Fenix Resources' Cash Runway?
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. When Fenix Resources last reported its balance sheet in December 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$10m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$6.6m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 19 months from December 2020. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Fenix Resources' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Fenix Resources didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 105%. It's fair to say that sort of rate of increase cannot be maintained for very long, without putting pressure on the balance sheet. Fenix Resources 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 Hard Would It Be For Fenix Resources To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Fenix Resources does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$139m, Fenix Resources' AU$6.6m in cash burn equates to about 4.7% of its market value. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.
How Risky Is Fenix Resources' Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Fenix Resources' cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. While we're the kind of investors who are always a bit concerned about the risks involved with cash burning companies, the metrics we have discussed in this article leave us relatively comfortable about Fenix Resources' situation. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 3 warning signs for Fenix Resources (of which 2 make us uncomfortable!) you should know about.
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.
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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