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Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for Predictive Discovery (ASX:PDI) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
When Might Predictive Discovery Run Out Of Money?
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. As at December 2021, Predictive Discovery had cash of AU$17m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$22m. Therefore, from December 2021 it had roughly 10 months of cash runway. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Predictive Discovery's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
While Predictive Discovery did record statutory revenue of AU$5.0k over the last year, it didn't have any revenue from operations. That means we consider it a pre-revenue business, and we will focus our growth analysis on cash burn, for now. The skyrocketing cash burn up 178% year on year certainly tests our nerves. That sort of spending growth rate can't continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. Predictive Discovery 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.
Can Predictive Discovery Raise More Cash Easily?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Predictive Discovery shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund 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).
Predictive Discovery's cash burn of AU$22m is about 7.6% of its AU$288m market capitalisation. 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.
Is Predictive Discovery's Cash Burn A Worry?
On this analysis of Predictive Discovery'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. Summing up, we think the Predictive Discovery's cash burn is a risk, based on the factors we mentioned in this article. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 5 warning signs for Predictive Discovery (of which 3 are a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.
Of course Predictive Discovery 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.
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.
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