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We Think Fenix Resources (ASX:FEX) Needs To Drive Business Growth Carefully

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 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 the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

So, the natural question for Fenix Resources (ASX:FEX) 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 Fenix Resources

How Long Is Fenix Resources's 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. As at June 2019, Fenix Resources had cash of AU$4.3m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$3.1m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 17 months from June 2019. Notably, one analyst forecasts that Fenix Resources will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 2 years. Essentially, that means the company will either reduce its cash burn, or else require more cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

ASX:FEX Historical Debt, January 28th 2020

How Is Fenix Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Whilst it's great to see that Fenix Resources has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced AU$19k, so we don't think it is generating significant revenue, at this point. As a result, we think it's a bit early to focus on the revenue growth, so we'll limit ourselves to looking at how the cash burn is changing over time. Remarkably, it actually increased its cash burn by 252% in the last year. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company's cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. 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 Hard Would It Be For Fenix Resources To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Fenix Resources 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. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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).

Fenix Resources's cash burn of AU$3.1m is about 20% of its AU$15m market capitalisation. 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 Fenix Resources's Cash Burn Situation?

Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Fenix Resources's cash runway was relatively promising. One real positive is that at least one analyst is forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. We don't think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. Notably, our data indicates that Fenix Resources 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.