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Can Oceanic Wind Energy (CVE:NKW) Afford To Invest In Growth?

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Oceanic Wind Energy (CVE:NKW) shareholders should 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. 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 Oceanic Wind Energy

When Might Oceanic Wind Energy 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. In March 2020, Oceanic Wind Energy had CA$8.4k in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was CA$763k. That means it had a cash runway of under two months as of March 2020. It's extremely surprising to us that the company has allowed its cash runway to get that short! You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

TSXV:NKW Historical Debt June 1st 2020

How Is Oceanic Wind Energy's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Oceanic Wind Energy 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. With the cash burn rate up 31% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Oceanic Wind Energy due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Hard Would It Be For Oceanic Wind Energy To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Oceanic Wind Energy shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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.

Oceanic Wind Energy has a market capitalisation of CA$7.5m and burnt through CA$763k last year, which is 10% of the company's market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.

So, Should We Worry About Oceanic Wind Energy's Cash Burn?

Even though its cash runway makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Oceanic Wind Energy's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Considering all the measures mentioned in this report, we reckon that its cash burn is fairly risky, and if we held shares we'd be watching like a hawk for any deterioration. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Oceanic Wind Energy (2 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

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)

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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. Thank you for reading.