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We're Not Worried About Varonis Systems's (NASDAQ:VRNS) Cash Burn

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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.

So, the natural question for Varonis Systems (NASDAQ:VRNS) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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). We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

View our latest analysis for Varonis Systems

When Might Varonis Systems Run Out Of Money?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In June 2019, Varonis Systems had US$146m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$11m. That means it had a cash runway of very many years as of June 2019. Notably, however, analysts think that Varonis Systems will break even (at a free cash flow level) before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NasdaqGS:VRNS Historical Debt, October 24th 2019

Is Varonis Systems's Revenue Growing?

We're hesitant to extrapolate on the recent trend to assess its cash burn, because Varonis Systems actually had positive free cash flow last year, so operating revenue growth is probably our best bet to measure, right now. While it's not that amazing, we still think that the 12% increase in revenue from operations was a positive. 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.

Can Varonis Systems Raise More Cash Easily?

Notwithstanding Varonis Systems's revenue growth, it is still important to consider how it could raise more money, if it needs to. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund 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).

Varonis Systems's cash burn of US$11m is about 0.6% of its US$1.8b market capitalisation. So it could almost certainly just borrow a little to fund another year's growth, or else easily raise the cash by issuing a few shares.

How Risky Is Varonis Systems's Cash Burn Situation?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Varonis Systems's cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. On this analysis its revenue growth was its weakest feature, but we are not concerned about it. There's no doubt that shareholders can take a lot of heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven before too long. After considering a range of factors in this article, we're pretty relaxed about its cash burn, since the company seems to be in a good position to continue to fund its growth. 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 Varonis Systems CEO is paid..

Of course Varonis Systems 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.