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, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So should Theralase Technologies (CVE:TLT) shareholders 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.
Does Theralase Technologies Have A Long Cash Runway?
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, Theralase Technologies had cash of CA$1.1m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$3.0m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 5 months of cash runway. That's a very short cash runway which indicates an imminent need to douse the cash burn or find more funding. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Theralase Technologies's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In our view, Theralase Technologies doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just CA$1.2m in the last twelve months. 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. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 8.9%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. 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 Theralase Technologies Raise Cash?
While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, Theralase Technologies shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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.
Theralase Technologies has a market capitalisation of CA$43m and burnt through CA$3.0m last year, which is 6.9% 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 Theralase Technologies's Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Theralase Technologies's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its cash runway has us a bit worried. Looking at the factors mentioned in this short report, we do think that its cash burn is a bit risky, and it does make us slightly nervous about the stock. Notably, our data indicates that Theralase Technologies insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.
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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.