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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. But while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

So should Morphic Holding (NASDAQ:MORF) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. We’ll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

Check out our latest analysis for Morphic Holding

How Long Is Morphic Holding’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 Morphic Holding last reported its balance sheet in June 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$203m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$65m. Therefore, from June 2020 it had 3.1 years of cash runway. A runway of this length affords the company the time and space it needs to develop the business. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis

Is Morphic Holding’s Revenue Growing?

We’re hesitant to extrapolate on the recent trend to assess its cash burn, because Morphic Holding actually had positive free cash flow last year, so operating revenue growth is probably our best bet to measure, right now. We think that it’s fairly positive to see that revenue grew 24% in the last twelve months. 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 Morphic Holding Raise Cash?

While Morphic Holding is showing solid revenue growth, it’s still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. 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 and drive growth. By comparing a company’s annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).

Morphic Holding’s cash burn of US$65m is about 7.9% of its US$817m 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.

Is Morphic Holding’s Cash Burn A Worry?

As you can probably tell by now, we’re not too worried about Morphic Holding’s cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Its revenue growth wasn’t quite as good, but was still rather encouraging! 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, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 3 warning signs for Morphic Holding (1 can’t be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course Morphic Holding 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.

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. 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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