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We Think GWR Group (ASX:GWR) 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 history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So, the natural question for GWR Group (ASX:GWR) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

View our latest analysis for GWR Group

Does GWR Group Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In June 2019, GWR Group had AU$2.9m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$3.1m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 11 months as of June 2019. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

ASX:GWR Historical Debt, September 23rd 2019

How Is GWR Group's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

While GWR Group did record statutory revenue of AU$232k over the last year, it didn't have any revenue from operations. That means we consider it a pre-revenue business, and we will focus our growth analysis on cash burn, for now. With the cash burn rate up 6.2% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. GWR Group makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

Can GWR Group Raise More Cash Easily?

Since its cash burn is increasing (albeit only slightly), GWR Group shareholders should still be mindful of the possibility it will require more cash in the future. 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.

GWR Group's cash burn of AU$3.1m is about 12% of its AU$25m market capitalisation. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.

Is GWR Group's Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of GWR Group's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its cash runway has us a bit worried. 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. We think it's very important to consider the cash burn for loss making companies, but other considerations such as the amount the CEO is paid can also enhance your understanding of the business. You can click here to see what GWR Group's CEO gets paid each year.

If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this freelist 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.