Is Firebrick Pharma (ASX:FRE) In A Good Position To Invest In Growth?

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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 while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Firebrick Pharma (ASX:FRE) 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.

See our latest analysis for Firebrick Pharma

How Long Is Firebrick Pharma’s Cash Runway?

You can calculate a company’s cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. In June 2022, Firebrick Pharma had AU$7.1m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through AU$4.2m. That means it had a cash runway of around 20 months as of June 2022. While that cash runway isn’t too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis

How Is Firebrick Pharma’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Although Firebrick Pharma had revenue of AU$1.1m in the last twelve months, its operating revenue was only AU$4.1k in that time period. Given how low that operating leverage is, we think it’s too early to put much weight on the revenue growth, so we’ll focus on how the cash burn is changing, instead. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 117%. That sort of spending growth rate can’t continue for very long before it causes balance sheet weakness, generally speaking. Admittedly, we’re a bit cautious of Firebrick Pharma due to its lack of significant operating revenues. We prefer most of the stocks on this list of stocks that analysts expect to grow.

Can Firebrick Pharma Raise More Cash Easily?

While Firebrick Pharma does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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$39m, Firebrick Pharma’s AU$4.2m in cash burn equates to about 11% of its market value. As a result, we’d venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.

How Risky Is Firebrick Pharma’s Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of Firebrick Pharma’s cash burn, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. 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. Taking a deeper dive, we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Firebrick Pharma you should be aware of, and 1 of them is a bit unpleasant.

Of course Firebrick Pharma 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.

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