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Companies Like Molecular Partners (VTX:MOLN) Are In A Position To Invest In Growth

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Molecular Partners (VTX:MOLN) shareholders should 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 Molecular Partners

When Might Molecular Partners Run Out Of Money?

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 March 2023, Molecular Partners had cash of CHF232m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through CHF63m. Therefore, from March 2023 it had 3.7 years of cash runway. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

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

Is Molecular Partners' Revenue Growing?

Given that Molecular Partners actually had positive free cash flow last year, before burning cash this year, we'll focus on its operating revenue to get a measure of the business trajectory. Sadly, operating revenue actually dropped like a stone in the last twelve months, falling 89%, which is rather concerning. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

How Hard Would It Be For Molecular Partners To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its problematic fall in revenue, Molecular Partners shareholders should consider how the company could fund its growth, if it turns out it needs more cash. 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. 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.

Molecular Partners has a market capitalisation of CHF181m and burnt through CHF63m last year, which is 35% of the company's market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.

So, Should We Worry About Molecular Partners' Cash Burn?

Even though its falling revenue makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Molecular Partners' cash runway 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. Taking an in-depth view of risks, we've identified 1 warning sign for Molecular Partners that you should be aware of before investing.

Of course Molecular Partners 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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