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 history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So should TCR2 Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TCRR) shareholders 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
Does TCR2 Therapeutics 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. When TCR2 Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$170m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$33m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2019 it had 5.1 years of cash runway. While this is only one measure of its cash burn situation, it certainly gives us the impression that holders have nothing to worry about. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is TCR2 Therapeutics's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
TCR2 Therapeutics didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its 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. The skyrocketing cash burn up 110% year on year certainly tests our nerves. With spending growing that quickly, shareholders will be hoping that the money is prudently spent. 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 Easily Can TCR2 Therapeutics Raise Cash?
Given its cash burn trajectory, TCR2 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. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to 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.
TCR2 Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$356m and burnt through US$33m last year, which is 9.4% of the company's market value. 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 TCR2 Therapeutics's Cash Burn?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about TCR2 Therapeutics's cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. 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. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. Notably, our data indicates that TCR2 Therapeutics insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.
Of course TCR2 Therapeutics 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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.