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We Think Applied Genetic Technologies (NASDAQ:AGTC) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

Simply Wall St

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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Applied Genetic Technologies (NASDAQ:AGTC) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for Applied Genetic Technologies

Does Applied Genetic Technologies Have A Long 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. In June 2019, Applied Genetic Technologies had US$82m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was US$24m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of about 3.4 years from June 2019. A runway of this length affords the company the time and space it needs to develop the business. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

NasdaqGM:AGTC Historical Debt, October 31st 2019

How Well Is Applied Genetic Technologies Growing?

We reckon the fact that Applied Genetic Technologies managed to shrink its cash burn by 29% over the last year is rather encouraging. Having said that, the revenue growth of 72% was considerably more inspiring. It seems to be growing nicely. 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 Applied Genetic Technologies Raise Cash?

While Applied Genetic Technologies seems to be in a decent position, we reckon it is still worth thinking about how easily it could raise more cash, if that proved desirable. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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.

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$53m, Applied Genetic Technologies's US$24m in cash burn equates to about 45% of its market value. That's high expenditure relative to the value of the entire company, so if it does have to issue shares to fund more growth, that could end up really hurting shareholders returns (through significant dilution).

How Risky Is Applied Genetic Technologies's Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of Applied Genetic Technologies's cash burn, we think its revenue growth was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap has us a bit worried. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we're not overly concerned about the company's cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. 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: Applied Genetic Technologies 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)

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.

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. Thank you for reading.