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Will Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SPPI) Spend Its Cash Wisely?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, although software-as-a-service business Salesforce.com lost money for years while it grew recurring revenue, if you held shares since 2005, you'd have done very well indeed. But while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

So should Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SPPI) 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'.

See our latest analysis for Spectrum Pharmaceuticals

How Long Is Spectrum Pharmaceuticals' Cash Runway?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. When Spectrum Pharmaceuticals last reported its balance sheet in September 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$198m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$127m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 19 months as of September 2020. 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Is Spectrum Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Spectrum Pharmaceuticals isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage 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. Cash burn was pretty flat over the last year, which suggests that management are holding spending steady while the business advances its strategy. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

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

Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Spectrum Pharmaceuticals to raise more cash in the future. 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 and drive 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.

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals has a market capitalisation of US$688m and burnt through US$127m last year, which is 18% 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.

How Risky Is Spectrum Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Situation?

The good news is that in our view Spectrum Pharmaceuticals' cash burn situation gives shareholders real reason for optimism. Not only was its cash burn relative to its market cap quite good, but its cash runway was a real positive. We don't think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 2 warning signs for Spectrum Pharmaceuticals that investors should know when investing in the stock.

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)

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.