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Here's Why We're Not Too Worried About Black Iron's (TSE:BKI) Cash Burn Situation

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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 while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So, the natural question for Black Iron (TSE:BKI) 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Black Iron

When Might Black Iron Run Out Of Money?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. As at September 2021, Black Iron had cash of US$7.2m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. In the last year, its cash burn was US$3.6m. Therefore, from September 2021 it had 2.0 years of cash runway. That's decent, giving the company a couple years to develop its business. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Is Black Iron's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Black Iron 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. During the last twelve months, its cash burn actually ramped up 77%. While this spending increase is no doubt intended to drive growth, if the trend continues the company's cash runway will shrink very quickly. 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 Easily Can Black Iron Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Black Iron 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. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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).

Black Iron has a market capitalisation of US$57m and burnt through US$3.6m last year, which is 6.3% of the company's market value. 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.

So, Should We Worry About Black Iron's Cash Burn?

On this analysis of Black Iron's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 4 warning signs for Black Iron you should be aware of, and 1 of them is a bit unpleasant.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.