Altair looks to reduce cash burn
Altair Nanotechnologies burned through $14.6 million in cash during the first quarter, and its new chief financial officer says the company needs to get the burn rate under control quickly.
Even after some one-time expenses employee bonuses, payments to investment bankers are backed out of the first quarter number, Altair was burning through $2.64 million in cash each month.
“That’s too high for a company with our current revenue stream,” Chief Financial Officer John Fallini told investors in the publicly held company last week.
He said Altair’s management team, including interim President Terry Copeland, is focused on projects that are expected to generate revenue quickly.
A key to that strategy, Copeland said, is likely to be giant battery systems made by Altair and sold to utilities who will use the systems to even out loads on their systems. A two-megawatt system developed by Altair currently is being tested by AES Corp., a power company headquartered in Virginia.
And the strategy also means that Altair will be paying less attention to its highly publicized effort to create batteries for electric-powered vehicles. That market, Copeland said, is likely to develop slowly.
Altair’s goal, Fallini said, is to get to a point in the second half of this year where it’s burning no more than $2 million in cash each month. At the end of March, the company had $35 million in cash and cash equivalents on its books.
In the first quarter, the company posted a loss of $8.3 million on revenues of $1.07 million. A year earlier, it lost $5.5 million on revenues of $1.14 million.
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.