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We're Hopeful That Oxford BioMedica (LON:OXB) Will Use Its Cash Wisely

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 Oxford BioMedica (LON:OXB) 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'. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Oxford BioMedica

When Might Oxford BioMedica Run Out Of Money?

You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. As at June 2019, Oxford BioMedica had cash of UK£26m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through UK£23m. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 13 months of cash runway. Importantly, analysts think that Oxford BioMedica will reach cashflow breakeven in around 17 months. That means it doesn't have a great deal of breathing room, but it shouldn't really need more cash, considering that cash burn should be continually reducing. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

LSE:OXB Historical Debt, October 21st 2019

Is Oxford BioMedica's Revenue Growing?

We're hesitant to extrapolate on the recent trend to assess its cash burn, because Oxford BioMedica actually had positive free cash flow last year, so operating revenue growth is probably our best bet to measure, right now. While it's not that amazing, we still think that the 11% increase in revenue from operations was a positive. 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.

Can Oxford BioMedica Raise More Cash Easily?

Notwithstanding Oxford BioMedica's revenue growth, it is still important to consider how it could raise more money, if it needs to. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Oxford BioMedica has a market capitalisation of UK£407m and burnt through UK£23m last year, which is 5.7% 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.

How Risky Is Oxford BioMedica's Cash Burn Situation?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Oxford BioMedica's cash burn. In particular, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. On this analysis its cash runway was its weakest feature, but we are not concerned about it. There's no doubt that shareholders can take a lot of heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven before too long. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we're not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. When you don't have traditional metrics like earnings per share and free cash flow to value a company, many are extra motivated to consider qualitative factors such as whether insiders are buying or selling shares. Please Note: Oxford BioMedica insiders have been trading shares, according to our data. Click here to check whether insiders have been buying or selling.

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)

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.