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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 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 should Zedge (NYSEMKT:ZDGE) shareholders 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.
Does Zedge Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at April 2019, Zedge had cash of US$2.2m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$1.7m. Therefore, from April 2019 it had roughly 16 months of cash runway. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Well Is Zedge Growing?
Zedge actually ramped up its cash burn by a whopping 57% in the last year, which shows it is boosting investment in the business. While that's concerning on it's own, the fact that operating revenue was actually down 13% over the same period makes us positively tremulous. Considering both these metrics, we're a little concerned about how the company is developing. Of course, we've only taken a quick look at the stock's growth metrics, here. This graph of historic earnings and revenue shows how Zedge is building its business over time.
How Easily Can Zedge Raise Cash?
Since Zedge can't yet boast improving growth metrics, the market will likely be considering how it can raise more cash if need be. 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).
Zedge's cash burn of US$1.7m is about 9.9% of its US$17m market capitalisation. 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.
Is Zedge's Cash Burn A Worry?
On this analysis of Zedge's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn 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 Zedge CEO receives in total remuneration.
If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.
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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.