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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 the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Patriot One Technologies (TSE:PAT) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
How Long Is Patriot One Technologies' 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. In October 2020, Patriot One Technologies had CA$23m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$17m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 16 months from October 2020. Notably, one analyst forecasts that Patriot One Technologies will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 3 years. That means unless the company reduces its cash burn quickly, it may well look to raise more cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Patriot One Technologies' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Whilst it's great to see that Patriot One Technologies has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced CA$2.3m, so we don't think it is generating significant revenue, at this point. As a result, we think it's a bit early to focus on the revenue growth, so we'll limit ourselves to looking at how the cash burn is changing over time. While it hardly paints a picture of imminent growth, the fact that it has reduced its cash burn by 29% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Easily Can Patriot One Technologies Raise Cash?
While Patriot One Technologies is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. 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.
Patriot One Technologies' cash burn of CA$17m is about 22% of its CA$80m market capitalisation. That's not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year's growth at the current share price, you'd likely witness fairly costly dilution.
So, Should We Worry About Patriot One Technologies' Cash Burn?
Even though its cash burn relative to its market cap makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Patriot One Technologies' cash burn reduction was relatively promising. One real positive is that at least one analyst is forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. Even though we don't think it has a problem with its cash burn, the analysis we've done in this article does suggest that shareholders should give some careful thought to the potential cost of raising more money in the future. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 4 warning signs for Patriot One Technologies you should be aware of, and 1 of them is potentially serious.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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. 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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