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Easy Come, Easy Go: How Marksmen Energy (CVE:MAH) Shareholders Got Unlucky And Saw 80% Of Their Cash Evaporate

Simply Wall St

Marksmen Energy Inc. (CVE:MAH) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 11% in the last quarter. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. Five years have seen the share price descend precipitously, down a full 80%. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we're certainly hesitant to rejoice. The real question is whether the business can leave its past behind and improve itself over the years ahead.

See our latest analysis for Marksmen Energy

We don't think Marksmen Energy's revenue of CA$744,206 is enough to establish significant demand. We can't help wondering why it's publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? So it seems that the investors focused more on what could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). It seems likely some shareholders believe that Marksmen Energy will discover or develop fossil fuel before too long.

Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. There 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 companies like this go on to deliver on their plan, making good money for shareholders, many end in painful losses and eventual de-listing. Some Marksmen Energy investors have already had a taste of the bitterness stocks like this can leave in the mouth.

Our data indicates that Marksmen Energy had CA$1.9m more in total liabilities than it had cash, when it last reported in June 2019. That puts it in the highest risk category, according to our analysis. But with the share price diving 27% per year, over 5 years , it's probably fair to say that some shareholders no longer believe the company will succeed. The image below shows how Marksmen Energy's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image. You can see in the image below, how Marksmen Energy's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).

TSXV:MAH Historical Debt, November 15th 2019

In reality it's hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 11% in the last year, Marksmen Energy shareholders lost 63%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. 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 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. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

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 CA 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.