We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. 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.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Pointerra (ASX:3DP) shareholders should 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
When Might Pointerra 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. When Pointerra last reported its balance sheet in December 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$2.5m. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$1.6m. Therefore, from December 2019 it had roughly 19 months of cash runway. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Pointerra's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In our view, Pointerra doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just AU$840k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 6.3%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Pointerra due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.
How Easily Can Pointerra Raise Cash?
While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, Pointerra shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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 AU$23m, Pointerra's AU$1.6m in cash burn equates to about 6.9% of its market value. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.
How Risky Is Pointerra's Cash Burn Situation?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Pointerra's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. 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. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 6 warning signs for Pointerra (2 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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)
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.
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