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Companies Like e-therapeutics (LON:ETX) Are In A Position To Invest In Growth

·4-min read

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

So should e-therapeutics (LON:ETX) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

See our latest analysis for e-therapeutics

Does e-therapeutics Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When e-therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in January 2022, it had zero debt and cash worth UK£27m. In the last year, its cash burn was UK£8.0m. Therefore, from January 2022 it had 3.3 years of cash runway. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Is e-therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Although e-therapeutics had revenue of UK£477k in the last twelve months, its operating revenue was only UK£477k in that time period. Given how low that operating leverage is, we think it's too early to put much weight on the revenue growth, so we'll focus on how the cash burn is changing, instead. The skyrocketing cash burn up 132% year on year certainly tests our nerves. It's fair to say that sort of rate of increase cannot be maintained for very long, without putting pressure on the balance sheet. e-therapeutics makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Easily Can e-therapeutics Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, e-therapeutics shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund 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.

Since it has a market capitalisation of UK£107m, e-therapeutics' UK£8.0m in cash burn equates to about 7.5% of its market value. 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 e-therapeutics' Cash Burn Situation?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way e-therapeutics is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although we do find its increasing cash burn to be a bit of a negative, once we consider the other metrics mentioned in this article together, the overall picture is one we are comfortable with. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 2 warning signs for e-therapeutics (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

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.

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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