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Can Nanoveu (ASX:NVU) Afford To Invest In Growth?

Simply Wall St

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

So should Nanoveu (ASX:NVU) shareholders 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'. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

Check out our latest analysis for Nanoveu

When Might Nanoveu Run Out Of Money?

You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. As at June 2019, Nanoveu had cash of AU$3.5m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$3.1m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 13 months of cash runway. 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

ASX:NVU Historical Debt, January 15th 2020

How Is Nanoveu's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, Nanoveu doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just AU$23k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. Remarkably, it actually increased its cash burn by 1314% in the last year. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company's cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. Nanoveu makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

How Hard Would It Be For Nanoveu To Raise More Cash For Growth?

While Nanoveu 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. 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 to drive 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.

Nanoveu has a market capitalisation of AU$6.0m and burnt through AU$3.1m last year, which is 53% of the company's market value. From this perspective, it seems that the company spent a huge amount relative to its market value, and we'd be very wary of a painful capital raising.

So, Should We Worry About Nanoveu's Cash Burn?

On this analysis of Nanoveu's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. After looking at that range of measures, we think shareholders should be extremely attentive to how the company is using its cash, as the cash burn makes us uncomfortable. When you don't have traditional metrics like earnings per share and free cash flow to value a company, many are extra motivated to consider qualitative factors such as whether insiders are buying or selling shares. Please Note: Nanoveu insiders have been trading shares, according to our data. Click here to check whether insiders have been buying or selling.

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)

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.