We Think Aurora Solar Technologies (CVE:ACU) Needs To Drive Business Growth Carefully

Simply Wall St

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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So should Aurora Solar Technologies (CVE:ACU) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

See our latest analysis for Aurora Solar Technologies

When Might Aurora Solar Technologies Run Out Of Money?

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. As at June 2019, Aurora Solar Technologies had cash of CA$1.2m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was CA$1.0m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 14 months from June 2019. 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

TSXV:ACU Historical Debt, November 12th 2019

How Is Aurora Solar Technologies's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Whilst it's great to see that Aurora Solar Technologies has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced CA$850k, so we don't think it is generating significant revenue, at this point. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. Even though it doesn't get us excited, the 28% reduction in cash burn year on year does suggest the company can continue operating for quite some time. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Aurora Solar Technologies due to its lack of significant operating revenues. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

How Easily Can Aurora Solar Technologies Raise Cash?

While Aurora Solar Technologies is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster 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 to fund 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of CA$5.7m, Aurora Solar Technologies's CA$1.0m in cash burn equates to about 18% 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 Aurora Solar Technologies's Cash Burn Situation?

The good news is that in our view Aurora Solar Technologies's cash burn situation gives shareholders real reason for optimism. One the one hand we have its solid cash burn relative to its market cap, while on the other it can also boast very strong cash burn reduction. We don't think its cash burn is particularly problematic, but after considering the range of factors in this article, we do think shareholders should be monitoring how it changes over time. Notably, our data indicates that Aurora Solar Technologies insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

Of course Aurora Solar Technologies 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.