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We Think Arcus Biosciences (NYSE:RCUS) 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, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So, the natural question for Arcus Biosciences (NYSE:RCUS) 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'.

Check out our latest analysis for Arcus Biosciences

When Might Arcus Biosciences 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. In June 2019, Arcus Biosciences had US$224m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$58m. That means it had a cash runway of about 3.9 years as of June 2019. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NYSE:RCUS Historical Debt, October 29th 2019

How Well Is Arcus Biosciences Growing?

Arcus Biosciences boosted investment sharply in the last year, with cash burn ramping by 60%. Of course, the truly verdant revenue growth of 139% in that time may well justify the growth spend. 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.

Can Arcus Biosciences Raise More Cash Easily?

There's no doubt Arcus Biosciences 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. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$360m, Arcus Biosciences's US$58m in cash burn equates to about 16% of its 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 Arcus Biosciences's Cash Burn Situation?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Arcus Biosciences is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its revenue growth stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. 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. Notably, our data indicates that Arcus Biosciences insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

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.

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.