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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Larimar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:LRMR) shareholders should 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. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
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 2023, Larimar Therapeutics had cash of US$104m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$27m. Therefore, from June 2023 it had 3.8 years of cash runway. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
Larimar Therapeutics didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. While it hardly paints a picture of imminent growth, the fact that it has reduced its cash burn by 23% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. 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.
Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Larimar Therapeutics to raise more cash in the future. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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).
Larimar Therapeutics' cash burn of US$27m is about 26% of its US$106m market capitalisation. That's not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year's growth at the current share price, you'd likely witness fairly costly dilution.
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Larimar Therapeutics' cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. While its cash burn relative to its market cap wasn't great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we're not overly concerned about the company's cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Larimar Therapeutics (2 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, 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.