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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for Proteomics International Laboratories (ASX:PIQ) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.
See our latest analysis for Proteomics International Laboratories
When Might Proteomics International Laboratories Run Out Of Money?
A company’s cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. As at December 2022, Proteomics International Laboratories had cash of AU$6.8m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$5.3m. Therefore, from December 2022 it had roughly 15 months of cash runway. While that cash runway isn’t too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Proteomics International Laboratories’ Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Although Proteomics International Laboratories had revenue of AU$3.6m in the last twelve months, its operating revenue was only AU$1.3m 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. During the last twelve months, its cash burn actually ramped up 63%. Oftentimes, increased cash burn simply means a company is accelerating its business development, but one should always be mindful that this causes the cash runway to shrink. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. 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 Proteomics International Laboratories To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Proteomics International Laboratories 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. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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.
Proteomics International Laboratories has a market capitalisation of AU$117m and burnt through AU$5.3m last year, which is 4.5% of the company’s 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.
Is Proteomics International Laboratories’ Cash Burn A Worry?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Proteomics International Laboratories’ 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. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company’s operations, and we’ve picked out 4 warning signs for Proteomics International Laboratories that investors should know when investing in the stock.
Of course Proteomics International Laboratories 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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