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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.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether SpringWorks Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SWTX) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
When Might SpringWorks Therapeutics 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. When SpringWorks Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in March 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$311m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$57m. Therefore, from March 2020 it had 5.4 years of cash runway. Even though this is but one measure of the company's cash burn, the thought of such a long cash runway warms our bellies in a comforting way. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is SpringWorks Therapeutics's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because SpringWorks Therapeutics isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 190%. That sort of ramp in expenditure is no doubt intended to generate worthwhile long term returns. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Hard Would It Be For SpringWorks Therapeutics To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, SpringWorks Therapeutics shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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).
SpringWorks Therapeutics's cash burn of US$57m is about 3.4% of its US$1.7b 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.
So, Should We Worry About SpringWorks Therapeutics's Cash Burn?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way SpringWorks Therapeutics is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although we do find its increasing cash burn to be a bit of a negative, once we consider the other metrics mentioned in this article together, the overall picture is one we are comfortable with. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we're not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 3 warning signs for SpringWorks Therapeutics (of which 1 is significant!) you should know about.
If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.
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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.