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We Think Serko (NZSE:SKO) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

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·4 min read
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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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 should Serko (NZSE:SKO) 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Serko

Does Serko Have A Long Cash Runway?

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. As at March 2022, Serko had cash of NZ$125m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. Importantly, its cash burn was NZ$35m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of about 3.6 years as of March 2022. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. However, if we extrapolate the company's recent cash burn trend, then it would have a longer cash run way. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Well Is Serko Growing?

At first glance it's a bit worrying to see that Serko actually boosted its cash burn by 34%, year on year. The good news is that operating revenue increased by 44% in the last year, indicating that the business is gaining some traction. 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.

How Easily Can Serko Raise Cash?

While Serko seems to be in a decent position, we reckon it is still worth thinking about how easily it could raise more cash, if that proved desirable. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and 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.

Serko has a market capitalisation of NZ$474m and burnt through NZ$35m last year, which is 7.3% of the company's 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.

So, Should We Worry About Serko's Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Serko's cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we're pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. An in-depth examination of risks revealed 3 warning signs for Serko that readers should think about before committing capital to this stock.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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