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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should SomaLogic (NASDAQ:SLGC) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
How Long Is SomaLogic's Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When SomaLogic last reported its balance sheet in March 2022, it had zero debt and cash worth US$648m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$46m. So it had a very long cash runway of many years from March 2022. While this is only one measure of its cash burn situation, it certainly gives us the impression that holders have nothing to worry about. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Well Is SomaLogic Growing?
Notably, SomaLogic actually ramped up its cash burn very hard and fast in the last year, by 106%, signifying heavy investment in the business. But the silver lining is that operating revenue increased by 29% in that time. In light of the data above, we're fairly sanguine about the business growth trajectory. 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.
Can SomaLogic Raise More Cash Easily?
While SomaLogic 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. 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).
SomaLogic has a market capitalisation of US$784m and burnt through US$46m last year, which is 5.9% 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 SomaLogic's Cash Burn?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about SomaLogic's cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. While we must concede that its increasing cash burn is a bit worrying, the other factors mentioned in this article provide great comfort when it comes to the cash burn. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we're not overly concerned about the company's cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 2 warning signs for SomaLogic you should be aware of, and 1 of them makes us a bit uncomfortable.
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.
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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.
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