This month, we saw the Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG) up an impressive 48%. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. Like a ship taking on water, the share price has sunk 82% in that time. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we're certainly hesitant to rejoice. The million dollar question is whether the company can justify a long term recovery.
While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.
Because Decmil Group made a loss in the last twelve months, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good revenue growth. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
Over half a decade Decmil Group reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 2.5% for each year. That's not what investors generally want to see. If a business loses money, you want it to grow, so no surprises that the share price has dropped 29% each year in that time. It takes a certain kind of mental fortitude (or recklessness) to buy shares in a company that loses money and doesn't grow revenue. Fear of becoming a 'bagholder' may be keeping people away from this stock.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between Decmil Group's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Its history of dividend payouts mean that Decmil Group's TSR, which was a 79% drop over the last 5 years, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 12% in the twelve months, Decmil Group shareholders did even worse, losing 76%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 27% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Decmil Group , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
Of course Decmil Group may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
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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. 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. Thank you for reading.