Companies Like EQRx (NASDAQ:EQRX) Are In A Position To Invest In Growth

·4 min read

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. 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 EQRx (NASDAQ:EQRX) 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

Check out our latest analysis for EQRx

Does EQRx Have A Long Cash Runway?

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 March 2022, EQRx had cash of US$1.6b and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$214m. Therefore, from March 2022 it had 7.6 years of cash runway. While this is only one measure of its cash burn situation, it certainly gives us the impression that holders have nothing to worry about. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Is EQRx's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

EQRx 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. As it happens, the company's cash burn reduced by 18% over the last year, which suggests that management are maintaining a fairly steady rate of business development, albeit with a slight decrease in spending. 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.

Can EQRx Raise More Cash Easily?

While EQRx is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, 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. By looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.

EQRx has a market capitalisation of US$2.1b and burnt through US$214m last year, which is 10.0% 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.

So, Should We Worry About EQRx's Cash Burn?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way EQRx is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. On this analysis its cash burn reduction was its weakest feature, but we are not concerned about it. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we're pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. On another note, EQRx has 4 warning signs (and 2 which don't sit too well with us) we think you should know about.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, 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.

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