Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
Does Galileo Mining Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Galileo Mining last reported its balance sheet in December 2018, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$9.1m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$4.3m. Therefore, from December 2018 it had 2.1 years of cash runway. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Galileo Mining's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Galileo Mining isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. The skyrocketing cash burn up 141% year on year certainly tests our nerves. That sort of spending growth rate can't continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Hard Would It Be For Galileo Mining To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Galileo Mining shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. 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. 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).
Galileo Mining has a market capitalisation of AU$14m and burnt through AU$4.3m last year, which is 31% of the company's market value. That's not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year's growth at the current share price, you'd likely witness fairly costly dilution.
So, Should We Worry About Galileo Mining's Cash Burn?
On this analysis of Galileo Mining's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Even though we don't think it has a problem with its cash burn, the analysis we've done in this article does suggest that shareholders should give some careful thought to the potential cost of raising more money in the future. For us, it's always important to consider risks around cash burn rates. But investors should look at a whole range of factors when researching a new stock. For example, it could be interesting to see how much the Galileo Mining CEO receives in total remuneration.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this freelist of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.