Shares of TransEnterix Inc. (ASXC 1.49%), a company marketing surgical robots that assist with minimally invasive procedures, fell 22% in November, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Clearance of the Senhance surgical system by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent this stock soaring in October, but investors fear it might be too little, too late for the struggling company.
Business as usual, or a lack thereof, was all it took to sour the investor sentiment that had surged in October. Although the company recently earned clearance to sell the Senhance system in the vital U.S. market, the European launch commenced a couple years ago with dismal results. The company sold one system in 2016, and just two in the first nine months of 2017.
When the company reported third-quarter earnings, it let on that another value-diluting share offering would be necessary sooner than hoped for. Investors are right to assume it won't be the last, unless Senhance's reception in the U.S. is shockingly warmer than the one it received in the EU.
Despite already raising the number of outstanding shares by 72% this year, TransEnterix finished October with just $100.3 million in its cash coffers. The company lost $69 million in the first nine months of 2017, and with the U.S. launch of the Senhance system just getting started, we can expect those losses to accelerate in the quarters ahead.
TransEnterix CEO Todd Pope said he believes "that we are sufficiently capitalized through 2018 and beyond," but I think he's being disingenuous. I'll happily apologize if the company's outstanding share count doesn't rise another 10% above its present level of 199.24 million by the end of 2018.