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We're Keeping An Eye On Riot Blockchain's (NASDAQ:RIOT) Cash Burn Rate

Simply Wall St

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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.

So, the natural question for Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

Check out our latest analysis for Riot Blockchain

Does Riot Blockchain Have A Long 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 September 2019, Riot Blockchain had US$15m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was US$16m. That means it had a cash runway of around 11 months as of September 2019. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:RIOT Historical Debt, November 19th 2019

How Well Is Riot Blockchain Growing?

Happily, Riot Blockchain is travelling in the right direction when it comes to its cash burn, which is down 58% over the last year. And while hardly exciting, it was still good to see revenue growth of 14% during that time. We think it is growing rather well, upon reflection. 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.

Can Riot Blockchain Raise More Cash Easily?

Riot Blockchain seems to be in a fairly good position, in terms of cash burn, but we still think it's worthwhile considering how easily it could raise more money if it wanted 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 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$36m, Riot Blockchain's US$16m in cash burn equates to about 44% of its market value. That's high expenditure relative to the value of the entire company, so if it does have to issue shares to fund more growth, that could end up really hurting shareholders returns (through significant dilution).

Is Riot Blockchain's Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Riot Blockchain's cash burn, we think its cash burn reduction was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap has us a bit worried. 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. For us, it's always important to consider risks around cash burn rates. But investors should look at a whole range of factors when researching a new stock. For example, it could be interesting to see how much the Riot Blockchain CEO receives in total remuneration.

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)

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.