Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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 the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether LiveHire (ASX:LVH) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.
How Long Is LiveHire's 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. As at June 2020, LiveHire had cash of AU$21m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was AU$13m. That means it had a cash runway of around 19 months as of June 2020. Importantly, the one analyst we see covering the stock thinks that LiveHire will reach cashflow breakeven in 3 years. Essentially, that means the company will either reduce its cash burn, or else require more cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Well Is LiveHire Growing?
At first glance it's a bit worrying to see that LiveHire actually boosted its cash burn by 4.9%, year on year. The good news is that operating revenue increased by 32% in the last year, indicating that the business is gaining some traction. On balance, we'd say the company is improving over time. 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.
Can LiveHire Raise More Cash Easily?
While LiveHire seems to be in a fairly good position, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$90m, LiveHire's AU$13m in cash burn equates to about 14% of its market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.
How Risky Is LiveHire's Cash Burn Situation?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought LiveHire's revenue growth was relatively promising. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that at least one analyst is forecasting it will reach breakeven. 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. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for LiveHire that potential shareholders should take into account before putting money into a stock.
Of course LiveHire 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.
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. 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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