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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
So, the natural question for Kingston Resources (ASX:KSN) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
When Might Kingston Resources Run Out Of Money?
A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. As at December 2019, Kingston Resources had cash of AU$4.1m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$7.1m. That means it had a cash runway of around 7 months as of December 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. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Kingston Resources's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Kingston Resources didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its 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. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 31%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. 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 Kingston Resources To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Kingston Resources shareholders may wish to think ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. 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 to fund 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.
Kingston Resources has a market capitalisation of AU$22m and burnt through AU$7.1m last year, which is 32% of the company's market value. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.
So, Should We Worry About Kingston Resources's Cash Burn?
Kingston Resources is not in a great position when it comes to its cash burn situation. Although we can understand if some shareholders find its increasing cash burn acceptable, we can't ignore the fact that we consider its cash runway to be downright troublesome. Considering all the measures mentioned in this report, we reckon that its cash burn is fairly risky, and if we held shares we'd be watching like a hawk for any deterioration. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 5 warning signs for Kingston Resources (1 is potentially serious!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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