There’s no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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 while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So should Podium Minerals (ASX:POD) shareholders 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.

See our latest analysis for Podium Minerals

When Might Podium Minerals Run Out Of Money?

A company’s cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at December 2021, Podium Minerals had cash of AU$7.9m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$4.4m. Therefore, from December 2021 it had roughly 21 months of cash runway. That’s not too bad, but it’s fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

debt-equity-history-analysis

debt-equity-history-analysis

How Is Podium Minerals’ Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Podium Minerals 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. Its cash burn positively exploded in the last year, up 223%. Given that sharp increase in spending, the company’s cash runway will shrink rapidly as it depletes its cash reserves. Podium Minerals makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

How Hard Would It Be For Podium Minerals To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Podium Minerals shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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).

Podium Minerals has a market capitalisation of AU$92m and burnt through AU$4.4m last year, which is 4.8% of the company’s market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year’s growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.

Is Podium Minerals’ Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Podium Minerals’ cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. 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. On another note, Podium Minerals has 5 warning signs (and 2 which are significant) we think you should know about.

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.

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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