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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So should Evgen Pharma (LON:EVG) 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
Does Evgen Pharma Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In March 2019, Evgen Pharma had UK£2.0m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was UK£2.3m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 11 months from March 2019. To be frank, this kind of short runway puts us on edge, as it indicates the company must reduce its cash burn significantly, or else raise cash imminently. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Evgen Pharma's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Evgen Pharma isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. It's possible that the 2.6% reduction in cash burn over the last year is evidence of management tightening their belts as cash reserves deplete. 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.
Can Evgen Pharma Raise More Cash Easily?
While Evgen Pharma is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. 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 looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.
Since it has a market capitalisation of UK£20m, Evgen Pharma's UK£2.3m in cash burn equates to about 12% of its market value. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.
How Risky Is Evgen Pharma's Cash Burn Situation?
On this analysis of Evgen Pharma's cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its cash runway 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. We think it's very important to consider the cash burn for loss making companies, but other considerations such as the amount the CEO is paid can also enhance your understanding of the business. You can click here to see what Evgen Pharma's CEO gets paid each year.
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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