Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
So should Compugen (NASDAQ:CGEN) 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. Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.
Does Compugen 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. When Compugen last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$36m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$22m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 20 months from June 2019. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Well Is Compugen Growing?
Compugen reduced its cash burn by 7.6% during the last year, which is points to some degree of discipline. But the revenue dip of 22% in the same period was a bit concerning. Considering both these factors, we're not particularly excited by its growth profile. 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 Compugen To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Compugen seems to be in a fairly good position, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of US$258m, Compugen's US$22m in cash burn equates to about 8.5% of its 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 Compugen's Cash Burn?
On this analysis of Compugen's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its falling revenue has us a bit worried. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. For us, it's always important to consider risks around cash burn rates. But investors should look at a whole range of factors when researching a new stock. For example, it could be interesting to see how much the Compugen CEO receives in total remuneration.
Of course Compugen 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.