We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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 Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SPPI) 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. Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.
When Might Spectrum Pharmaceuticals 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. As at June 2019, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals had cash of US$289m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$103m. So it had a cash runway of about 2.8 years from June 2019. Notably, analysts forecast that Spectrum Pharmaceuticals will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 4 years. That means unless the company reduces its cash burn quickly, it may well look to raise more cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Well Is Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Growing?
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals boosted investment sharply in the last year, with cash burn ramping by 75%. While that isa little concerning at a glance, the company has a track record of recent growth, evidenced by the impressive 68% growth in revenue, over the very same year. 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 Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Raise Cash?
While Spectrum Pharmaceuticals 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. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals has a market capitalisation of US$921m and burnt through US$103m last year, which is 11% of the company's market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.
How Risky Is Spectrum Pharmaceuticals's Cash Burn Situation?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Spectrum Pharmaceuticals is burning through its cash. For example, we think its revenue growth suggests that the company is on a good path. While its increasing cash burn wasn't great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. 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: Spectrum Pharmaceuticals insiders have been trading shares, according to our data. Click here to check whether insiders have been buying or selling.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.