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Here's Why We're Watching Sheffield Resources' (ASX:SFX) Cash Burn Situation

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. By way of example, Sheffield Resources (ASX:SFX) has seen its share price rise 196% over the last year, delighting many shareholders. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

In light of its strong share price run, we think now is a good time to investigate how risky Sheffield Resources' cash burn is. 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

See our latest analysis for Sheffield Resources

Does Sheffield Resources Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. Sheffield Resources has such a small amount of debt that we'll set it aside, and focus on the AU$13m in cash it held at December 2020. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$11m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 14 months from December 2020. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

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

How Is Sheffield Resources' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Sheffield Resources isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage 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. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 121%. It's fair to say that sort of rate of increase cannot be maintained for very long, without putting pressure on the balance sheet. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Sheffield Resources due to its lack of significant operating revenues. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

Can Sheffield Resources Raise More Cash Easily?

While Sheffield Resources does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$137m, Sheffield Resources' AU$11m in cash burn equates to about 8.2% of its market value. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.

So, Should We Worry About Sheffield Resources' Cash Burn?

On this analysis of Sheffield Resources' cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap 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. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 3 warning signs for Sheffield Resources (of which 1 shouldn't be ignored!) you should know about.

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)

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. 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.

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