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We Think Sigma Labs (NASDAQ:SGLB) Needs To Drive Business Growth Carefully

·4 min read

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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

So, the natural question for Sigma Labs (NASDAQ:SGLB) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

View our latest analysis for Sigma Labs

How Long Is Sigma Labs' 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 September 2021, Sigma Labs had cash of US$13m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$6.2m. Therefore, from September 2021 it had 2.1 years of cash runway. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

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

How Is Sigma Labs' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, Sigma Labs doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just US$1.5m 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 25%, 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. 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 Sigma Labs To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Sigma Labs 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. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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$20m, Sigma Labs' US$6.2m in cash burn equates to about 31% of its market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.

How Risky Is Sigma Labs' Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of Sigma Labs' cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap 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. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 5 warning signs for Sigma Labs that investors should know when investing in the stock.

Of course Sigma Labs 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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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.