We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So, the natural question for Global Vanadium (CVE:GLV) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. First, we’ll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

How Long Is Global Vanadium’s Cash Runway?

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. When Global Vanadium last reported its balance sheet in December 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth CA$211k. Importantly, its cash burn was CA$135k over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from December 2019 it had roughly 19 months of cash runway. That’s not too bad, but it’s fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

TSXV:GLV Historical Debt April 18th 2020
TSXV:GLV Historical Debt April 18th 2020

How Is Global Vanadium’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Global Vanadium isn’t currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage 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 37% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. Global Vanadium 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.

Can Global Vanadium Raise More Cash Easily?

Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Global Vanadium to raise more cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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.

Global Vanadium’s cash burn of CA$135k is about 7.4% of its CA$1.8m market capitalisation. 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 Global Vanadium’s Cash Burn?

Global Vanadium appears to be in pretty good health when it comes to its cash burn situation. Not only was its cash burn reduction quite good, but its cash burn relative to its market cap was a real positive. 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, Global Vanadium has 4 warning signs (and 3 which are potentially serious) 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)

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.

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