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Easy Come, Easy Go: How Chariot Oil & Gas (LON:CHAR) Shareholders Got Unlucky And Saw 84% Of Their Cash Evaporate

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Chariot Oil & Gas Limited (LON:CHAR) has rebounded strongly over the last week, with the share price soaring 58% But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. Like a ship taking on water, the share price has sunk 84% in that time. So we don't gain too much confidence from the recent recovery. The fundamental business performance will ultimately determine if the turnaround can be sustained.

While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.

Check out our latest analysis for Chariot Oil & Gas

Chariot Oil & Gas hasn't yet reported any revenue yet, so it's as much a business idea as an actual business. This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won't provide funds on attractive terms. So it seems that the investors more focused on would could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). It seems likely some shareholders believe that Chariot Oil & Gas will discover or develop fossil fuel before too long.

We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty high risk. The is usually a significant chance that they will need more money for business development, putting them at the mercy of capital markets. So the share price itself impacts the value of the shares (as it determines the cost of capital). While some such companies go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. Chariot Oil & Gas has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.

Chariot Oil & Gas had net cash of US$26m when it last reported (June 2018). While that's nothing to panic about, there is some possibility the company will raise more capital, especially if profits are not imminent. We'd venture that shareholders are concerned about the need for more capital, because the share price has dropped 31% per year, over 5 years. You can see in the image below, how Chariot Oil & Gas's cash and debt levels have changed over time (click to see the values).

AIM:CHAR Historical Debt, April 8th 2019
AIM:CHAR Historical Debt, April 8th 2019

It can be extremely risky to invest in a company that doesn't even have revenue. There's no way to know its value easily. Would it bother you if insiders were selling the stock? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. You can click here to see if there are insiders selling.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 6.1% in the last year, Chariot Oil & Gas shareholders lost 68%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 31% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. You might want to assess this data-rich visualization of its earnings, revenue and cash flow.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.

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.