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Can Rockfire Resources (LON:ROCK) 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, 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 the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

So, the natural question for Rockfire Resources (LON:ROCK) 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). Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.

Check out our latest analysis for Rockfire Resources

Does Rockfire Resources 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, Rockfire Resources had UK£181k in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through UK£1.1m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 2 months from June 2019. To be frank we are alarmed by how short that cash runway is! You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

AIM:ROCK Historical Debt March 26th 2020

How Is Rockfire Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Rockfire Resources didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. With the cash burn rate up 3.1% 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. Rockfire Resources 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 Rockfire Resources To Raise More Cash For Growth?

While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, Rockfire Resources shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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.

Rockfire Resources has a market capitalisation of UK£3.6m and burnt through UK£1.1m last year, which is 31% of the company's market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.

So, Should We Worry About Rockfire Resources's Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we're rather concerned about Rockfire Resources's cash burn. Take, for example, its cash runway, which suggests the company may have difficulty funding itself, in the future. While not as bad as its cash runway, its increasing cash burn is also a concern, and considering everything mentioned above, we're struggling to find much to be optimistic about. After considering the data discussed in this article, we don't have a lot of confidence that its cash burn rate is prudent, as it seems like it might need more cash soon. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 5 warning signs for Rockfire Resources (2 are potentially serious!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course Rockfire Resources 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.