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Can GBM Resources (ASX:GBZ) Afford To Invest In Growth?

Simply Wall St

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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

So should GBM Resources (ASX:GBZ) shareholders be worried about its 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.

Check out our latest analysis for GBM Resources

When Might GBM Resources Run Out Of Money?

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. As at December 2018, GBM Resources had cash of AU$484k and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$2.6m. That means it had a cash runway of around 2 months as of December 2018. To be frank we are alarmed by how short that cash runway is! The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

ASX:GBZ Historical Debt, September 20th 2019

How Is GBM Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, GBM Resources doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just AU$60k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. Given the length of the cash runway, we'd interpret the 25% reduction in cash burn, in twelve months, as prudent if not necessary for capital preservation. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of GBM Resources 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 GBM Resources Raise Cash?

Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for GBM Resources to raise more cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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 AU$4.4m, GBM Resources's AU$2.6m in cash burn equates to about 60% of its market value. That's high expenditure relative to the value of the entire company, so if it does have to issue shares to fund more growth, that could end up really hurting shareholders returns (through significant dilution).

So, Should We Worry About GBM Resources's Cash Burn?

There are no prizes for guessing that we think GBM Resources's cash burn is a bit of a worry. In particular, we think its cash runway suggests it isn't in a good position to keep funding growth. And although we accept its cash burn reduction wasn't as worrying as its cash runway, it was still a real negative; as indeed were all the factors we considered in this article. 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 GBM Resources insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this freelist of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.