There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Orthocell (ASX:OCC) 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.
Check out our latest analysis for Orthocell
When Might Orthocell Run Out Of Money?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In June 2022, Orthocell had AU$11m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$6.8m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2022 it had roughly 19 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 Is Orthocell's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
In our view, Orthocell doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just AU$1.5m in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. With the cash burn rate up 44% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. Of course, we've only taken a quick look at the stock's growth metrics, here. You can take a look at how Orthocell is growing revenue over time by checking this visualization of past revenue growth.
How Easily Can Orthocell Raise Cash?
While Orthocell does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking 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. 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).
Orthocell's cash burn of AU$6.8m is about 7.4% of its AU$92m market capitalisation. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.
How Risky Is Orthocell's Cash Burn Situation?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Orthocell's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 3 warning signs for Orthocell (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course Orthocell 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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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