There’s no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
So, the natural question for Applied Molecular Transport (NASDAQ:AMTI) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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). Let’s start with an examination of the business’ cash, relative to its cash burn.
Does Applied Molecular Transport Have A Long Cash Runway?
The company’s cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at June 2022, Applied Molecular Transport had cash of US$96m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$104m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 11 months from June 2022. That’s quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Applied Molecular Transport’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Applied Molecular Transport 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 36%, which suggests that management is 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. 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 Easily Can Applied Molecular Transport Raise Cash?
Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Applied Molecular Transport shareholders may wish to think ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive growth. We can compare the company’s cash burn to its market capitalization to get a sense for how many new shares the company would have to issue to fund one year’s operations.
Applied Molecular Transport’s cash burn of US$104m is about 136% of its US$77m market capitalization. That suggests the company may have some funding difficulties, and we’d be very wary of the stock.
Is Applied Molecular Transport’s Cash Burn A Worry?
We must admit that we don’t think Applied Molecular Transport is in a very strong position, when it comes to its cash burn. While its cash runway wasn’t too bad, its cash burn relative to its market cap does leave us rather nervous. After considering the data discussed in this article, we don’t have a lot of confidence that its cash burn rate is prudent, as it seems like it might need more cash soon. Taking a deeper dive, we’ve spotted 4 warning signs for Applied Molecular Transport you should be aware of, and 2 of them shouldn’t be ignored.
Of course Applied Molecular Transport 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.
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.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.