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Can Mporium Group (LON:MPM) Afford To Invest In Growth?

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So, the natural question for Mporium Group (LON:MPM) 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

See our latest analysis for Mporium Group

Does Mporium Group Have A Long Cash Runway?

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. In June 2019, Mporium Group had UK£376k in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was UK£5.6m over the trailing twelve months. So it seems to us it had a cash runway of less than two months from June 2019. It's extremely surprising to us that the company has allowed its cash runway to get that short! The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

AIM:MPM Historical Debt, December 4th 2019

How Well Is Mporium Group Growing?

Notably, Mporium Group actually ramped up its cash burn very hard and fast in the last year, by 163%, signifying heavy investment in the business. But shareholders are no doubt taking some confidence from the rockstar revenue growth of 1179% during that same year. In light of the data above, we're fairly sanguine about the business growth trajectory. Of course, we've only taken a quick look at the stock's growth metrics, here. This graph of historic revenue growth shows how Mporium Group is building its business over time.

Can Mporium Group Raise More Cash Easily?

Given the trajectory of Mporium Group's cash burn, many investors will already be thinking about how it might raise more cash in the future. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future growth. By looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.

Mporium Group's cash burn of UK£5.6m is about 1785% of its UK£313k market capitalisation. Given just how high that expenditure is, relative to the company's market value, we think there's an elevated risk of funding distress, and we would be very nervous about holding the stock.

Is Mporium Group's Cash Burn A Worry?

There are no prizes for guessing that we think Mporium Group'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. On the other hand at least it could boast rather strong revenue growth, which no doubt gives shareholders some comfort. 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. We think it's very important to consider the cash burn for loss making companies, but other considerations such as the amount the CEO is paid can also enhance your understanding of the business. You can click here to see what Mporium Group's CEO gets paid each year.

Of course Mporium Group may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.