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We're A Little Worried About Conico's (ASX:CNJ) 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, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Conico (ASX:CNJ) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.

Check out our latest analysis for Conico

Does Conico 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. As at June 2019, Conico had cash of AU$131k and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$838k over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 2 months of cash runway. To be frank we are alarmed by how short that cash runway is! You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

ASX:CNJ Historical Debt, November 15th 2019

How Is Conico's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

While Conico did record statutory revenue of AU$21k over the last year, it didn't have any revenue from operations. To us, that makes it a pre-revenue company, so we'll look to its cash burn trajectory as an assessment of its cash burn situation. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 24%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Conico due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Easily Can Conico Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Conico shareholders should already be thinking about how easy it might be for it to raise further cash in the future. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. 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.

Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$2.8m, Conico's AU$838k in cash burn equates to about 30% of its market value. 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 Conico's Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we're rather concerned about Conico's cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway suggests it isn't in a good position to keep funding growth. And although we accept its increasing cash burn wasn't as worrying as its cash runway, it was still a real negative; as indeed were all the factors we considered in this article. 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. While we always like to monitor cash burn for early stage companies, qualitative factors such as the CEO pay can also shed light on the situation. Click here to see free what the Conico CEO is paid..

Of course Conico 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.