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We're Keeping An Eye On Aeris Environmental's (ASX:AEI) Cash Burn Rate

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Aeris Environmental (ASX:AEI) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

View our latest analysis for Aeris Environmental

How Long Is Aeris Environmental's Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Aeris Environmental last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth AU$3.5m. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$4.5m. That means it had a cash runway of around 9 months as of June 2019. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

ASX:AEI Historical Debt, October 18th 2019

How Well Is Aeris Environmental Growing?

Aeris Environmental actually ramped up its cash burn by a whopping 74% in the last year, which shows it is boosting investment in the business. Of course, the truly verdant revenue growth of 149% in that time may well justify the growth spend. Considering the factors above, the company doesn’t fare badly when it comes to assessing how it is changing over time. Of course, we've only taken a quick look at the stock's growth metrics, here. This graph of historic revenue growth shows how Aeris Environmental is building its business over time.

How Easily Can Aeris Environmental Raise Cash?

While Aeris Environmental seems to be in a fairly good position, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. 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.

Aeris Environmental's cash burn of AU$4.5m is about 7.7% of its AU$58m market capitalisation. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.

Is Aeris Environmental's Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Aeris Environmental's cash burn, we think its revenue growth was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. While it's important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Aeris Environmental insiders have been trading shares in the company. Click here to find out if they have been buying or selling.

Of course Aeris Environmental 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.

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.