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Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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 while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for 4D Molecular Therapeutics (NASDAQ:FDMT) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
How Long Is 4D Molecular Therapeutics' 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 4D Molecular Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in June 2021, it had zero debt and cash worth US$244m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$64m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of about 3.8 years as of June 2021. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is 4D Molecular Therapeutics Growing?
4D Molecular Therapeutics boosted investment sharply in the last year, with cash burn ramping by 52%. It seems likely that the vociferous operating revenue growth of 136% during that time may well have given management confidence to ramp investment. Considering the factors above, the company doesn’t fare badly when it comes to assessing how it is changing over time. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. 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 4D Molecular Therapeutics To Raise More Cash For Growth?
There's no doubt 4D Molecular Therapeutics seems to be in a fairly good position, when it comes to managing its cash burn, but even if it's only hypothetical, it's always worth asking how easily it could raise more money to fund growth. 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 and 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.
4D Molecular Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$839m and burnt through US$64m last year, which is 7.6% of the company's market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.
So, Should We Worry About 4D Molecular Therapeutics' Cash Burn?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way 4D Molecular Therapeutics is burning through its cash. For example, we think its revenue growth suggests that the company is on a good path. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we're pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 3 warning signs for 4D Molecular Therapeutics (of which 1 is significant!) you should know about.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
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