Here's Why We're Not At All Concerned With Chewy's (NYSE:CHWY) Cash Burn Situation

Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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 Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

Check out our latest analysis for Chewy

Does Chewy Have A Long 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. In August 2019, Chewy had US$151m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was US$34m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from August 2019 it had 4.5 years of cash runway. Importantly, though, analysts think that Chewy will reach cashflow breakeven before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

How Well Is Chewy Growing?

Happily, Chewy is travelling in the right direction when it comes to its cash burn, which is down 62% over the last year. And it could also show revenue growth of 20% in the same period. It seems to be growing nicely. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

Can Chewy Raise More Cash Easily?

We are certainly impressed with the progress Chewy has made over the last year, but it is also worth considering how costly it would be if it wanted to raise more cash to fund 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. 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.

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$9.9b, Chewy's US$34m in cash burn equates to about 0.3% 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 Chewy's Cash Burn?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Chewy is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. And even though its revenue growth wasn't quite as impressive, it was still a positive. It's clearly very positive to see that analysts are forecasting the company will break even fairly soon Taking all the factors in this report into account, we're not at all worried about its cash burn, as the business appears well capitalized to spend as needs be. Notably, our data indicates that Chewy insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

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 [email protected]. 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.

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