Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
So should Goldquest Mining (CVE:GQC) shareholders be worried about its 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
When Might Goldquest Mining 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 June 2019, Goldquest Mining had cash of CA$17m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$2.5m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of about 6.9 years from June 2019. Notably, however, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that Goldquest Mining will break even (at a free cash flow level) before then. If that happens, then the length of its cash runway, today, would become a moot point. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Goldquest Mining's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Goldquest Mining didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. The 60% reduction in its cash burn over the last twelve months may be good for protecting the balance sheet but it hardly points to imminent growth. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
How Easily Can Goldquest Mining Raise Cash?
While we're comforted by the recent reduction evident from our analysis of Goldquest Mining's cash burn, it is still worth considering how easily the company could raise more funds, if it wanted to accelerate spending to drive growth. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.
Goldquest Mining's cash burn of CA$2.5m is about 9.4% of its CA$27m market capitalisation. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.
How Risky Is Goldquest Mining's Cash Burn Situation?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Goldquest Mining is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. And even its cash burn relative to its market cap was very encouraging. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that at least one analyst is forecasting it will reach breakeven. 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. While it's important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Goldquest Mining insiders have been trading shares in the company. Click here to find out if they have been buying or selling.
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