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Will ScoZinc Mining (CVE:SZM) Spend Its Cash Wisely?

Simply Wall St

There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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 ScoZinc Mining (CVE:SZM) 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for ScoZinc Mining

Does ScoZinc Mining Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When ScoZinc Mining last reported its balance sheet in September 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$1.1m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through CA$1.3m. Therefore, from September 2019 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

TSXV:SZM Historical Debt, December 24th 2019

How Is ScoZinc Mining's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

ScoZinc Mining 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. Given the length of the cash runway, we'd interpret the 44% reduction in cash burn, in twelve months, as prudent if not necessary for capital preservation. ScoZinc Mining makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Easily Can ScoZinc Mining Raise Cash?

While ScoZinc Mining is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future growth. We can compare a company's cash burn to its market capitalisation to get a sense for how many new shares a company would have to issue to fund one year's operations.

Since it has a market capitalisation of CA$5.6m, ScoZinc Mining's CA$1.3m in cash burn equates to about 23% of its 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 ScoZinc Mining's Cash Burn?

Even though its cash runway makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought ScoZinc Mining's cash burn reduction was relatively promising. Summing up, we think the ScoZinc Mining's cash burn is a risk, based on the factors we mentioned in this article. 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: ScoZinc Mining 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 interesting companies, 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.