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 should Energy Fuels (TSE:EFR) 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. Let’s start with an examination of the business’ cash, relative to its cash burn.
Does Energy Fuels Have A Long Cash Runway?
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. In June 2022, Energy Fuels had US$98m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was US$35m. So it had a cash runway of about 2.8 years from June 2022. Notably, however, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that Energy Fuels will break even (at a free cash flow level) before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is Energy Fuels Growing?
At first glance it’s a bit worrying to see that Energy Fuels actually boosted its cash burn by 4.1%, year on year. Given that it boosted operating revenue by a stand-out 602% in the same period, we think management are simply more focussed on growth than preserving cash. It may well be that it has some excellent opportunities to invest in growth. It seems to be growing nicely. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
How Hard Would It Be For Energy Fuels To Raise More Cash For Growth?
There’s no doubt Energy Fuels seems to be in a fairly good position, when it comes to managing its cash burn, but even if it’s only hypothetical, it’s always worth asking how easily it could raise more money to fund 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. 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.
Energy Fuels has a market capitalisation of US$1.1b and burnt through US$35m last year, which is 3.2% 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.
So, Should We Worry About Energy Fuels’ Cash Burn?
It may already be apparent to you that we’re relatively comfortable with the way Energy Fuels is burning through its cash. For example, we think its revenue growth suggests that the company is on a good path. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. There’s no doubt that shareholders can take a lot of heart from the fact that at least one analyst is forecasting it will reach breakeven before too long. After considering a range of factors in this article, we’re pretty relaxed about its cash burn, since the company seems to be in a good position to continue to fund its growth. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Energy Fuels that potential shareholders should take into account before putting money into a stock.
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)
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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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