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We're A Little Worried About Cardiol Therapeutics's (TSE:CRDL) 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 Cardiol Therapeutics (TSE:CRDL) 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for Cardiol Therapeutics

When Might Cardiol Therapeutics 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 September 2019, Cardiol Therapeutics had cash of CA$10m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$17m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 7 months from September 2019. Notably, analysts forecast that Cardiol Therapeutics will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 4 years. Essentially, that means the company will either reduce its cash burn, or else require more cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

TSX:CRDL Historical Debt, March 23rd 2020

How Is Cardiol Therapeutics's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Cardiol Therapeutics isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Remarkably, it actually increased its cash burn by 473% in the last year. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company's cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.

Can Cardiol Therapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?

Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Cardiol Therapeutics shareholders may wish to think ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. 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. 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.

Cardiol Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of CA$66m and burnt through CA$17m last year, which is 26% of the company's market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.

Is Cardiol Therapeutics's Cash Burn A Worry?

We must admit that we don't think Cardiol Therapeutics is in a very strong position, when it comes to its cash burn. Although we can understand if some shareholders find its cash burn relative to its market cap acceptable, we can't ignore the fact that we consider its increasing cash burn to be downright troublesome. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven. Once we consider the metrics mentioned in this article together, we're left with very little confidence in the company's ability to manage its cash burn, and we think it will probably need more money. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 5 warning signs for Cardiol Therapeutics you should be aware of, and 1 of them is significant.

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)

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.

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. Thank you for reading.