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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.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Confluent (NASDAQ:CFLT) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
Does Confluent Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In June 2021, Confluent had US$1.0b in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was US$98m. That means it had a cash runway of very many years as of June 2021. Even though this is but one measure of the company's cash burn, the thought of such a long cash runway warms our bellies in a comforting way. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is Confluent Growing?
At first glance it's a bit worrying to see that Confluent actually boosted its cash burn by 24%, year on year. Having said that, it's revenue is up a very solid 98% in the last year, so there's plenty of reason to believe in the growth story. The company needs to keep up that growth, if it is to really please shareholders. We think it is growing rather well, upon reflection. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
How Hard Would It Be For Confluent To Raise More Cash For Growth?
There's no doubt Confluent seems to be in a fairly good position, when it comes to managing its cash burn, but even if it's only hypothetical, it's always worth asking how easily it could raise more money to fund growth. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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.
Confluent has a market capitalisation of US$18b and burnt through US$98m last year, which is 0.5% of the company's market value. So it could almost certainly just borrow a little to fund another year's growth, or else easily raise the cash by issuing a few shares.
How Risky Is Confluent's Cash Burn Situation?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Confluent is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its revenue growth stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. Taking all the factors in this report into account, we're not at all worried about its cash burn, as the business appears well capitalized to spend as needs be. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Confluent that potential shareholders should take into account before putting money into a stock.
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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