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Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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 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 Arrival (NASDAQ:ARVL) 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
How Long Is Arrival's Cash Runway?
You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. In June 2021, Arrival had €445m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through €317m. That means it had a cash runway of around 17 months as of June 2021. Importantly, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that Arrival will reach cashflow breakeven in around 22 months. That means it doesn't have a great deal of breathing room, but it shouldn't really need more cash, considering that cash burn should be continually reducing. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Arrival's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Arrival isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. The skyrocketing cash burn up 151% year on year certainly tests our nerves. That sort of spending growth rate can't continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. 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 Arrival To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Arrival shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. 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 and 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).
Since it has a market capitalisation of €6.2b, Arrival's €317m in cash burn equates to about 5.1% of its market value. 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.
So, Should We Worry About Arrival's Cash Burn?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Arrival is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap suggests that the company is on a good path. While we must concede that its increasing cash burn is a bit worrying, the other factors mentioned in this article provide great comfort when it comes to the cash burn. One real positive is that at least one analyst is forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. 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. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 2 warning signs for Arrival (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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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