Is Lefroy Exploration (ASX:LEX) In A Good Position To Deliver On Growth Plans?
We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So should Lefroy Exploration (ASX:LEX) shareholders 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). First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
See our latest analysis for Lefroy Exploration
When Might Lefroy Exploration Run Out Of Money?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at June 2022, Lefroy Exploration had cash of AU$4.2m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was AU$5.6m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 9 months as of June 2022. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.
How Is Lefroy Exploration's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
While Lefroy Exploration did record statutory revenue of AU$10k over the last year, it didn't have any revenue from operations. To us, that makes it a pre-revenue company, so we'll look to its cash burn trajectory as an assessment of its cash burn situation. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by 46%, 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. Lefroy Exploration makes us a little nervous due to its lack of substantial operating revenue. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.
How Hard Would It Be For Lefroy Exploration To Raise More Cash For Growth?
Since its cash burn is moving in the wrong direction, Lefroy Exploration 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 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of AU$35m, Lefroy Exploration's AU$5.6m in cash burn equates to about 16% 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 Lefroy Exploration's Cash Burn Situation?
Even though its cash runway makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Lefroy Exploration's cash burn relative to its market cap was relatively promising. Summing up, we think the Lefroy Exploration's cash burn is a risk, based on the factors we mentioned in this article. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 5 warning signs for Lefroy Exploration (3 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course Lefroy Exploration 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.
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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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