We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Amplitude (NASDAQ:AMPL) shareholders should 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its ‘cash runway’.
Does Amplitude Have A Long Cash Runway?
A company’s cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at September 2021, Amplitude had cash of US$318m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$26m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of very many years as of September 2021. Importantly, though, analysts think that Amplitude will reach cashflow breakeven before then. If that happens, then the length of its cash runway, today, would become a moot point. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is Amplitude Growing?
Amplitude boosted investment sharply in the last year, with cash burn ramping by 94%. On the bright side, at least operating revenue was up 44% over the same period, giving some cause for hope. On balance, we’d say the company is improving over time. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
How Hard Would It Be For Amplitude To Raise More Cash For Growth?
There’s no doubt Amplitude seems to be in a fairly good position, when it comes to managing its cash burn, but even if it’s only hypothetical, it’s always worth asking how easily it could raise more money to fund 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of US$6.3b, Amplitude’s US$26m in cash burn equates to about 0.4% of its market value. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.
So, Should We Worry About Amplitude’s Cash Burn?
As you can probably tell by now, we’re not too worried about Amplitude’s cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. While we must concede that its increasing cash burn is a bit worrying, the other factors mentioned in this article provide great comfort when it comes to the cash burn. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. 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. Taking a deeper dive, we’ve spotted 4 warning signs for Amplitude you should be aware of, and 1 of them is potentially serious.
Of course Amplitude 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.