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If You Had Bought Great Western Exploration (ASX:GTE) Stock Five Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 88% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Great Western Exploration Limited (ASX:GTE) share price up 25% in a single quarter. But will that repair the damage for the weary investors who have owned this stock as it declined over half a decade? Probably not. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 88% lower after that period. The recent bounce might mean the long decline is over, but we are not confident. The million dollar question is whether the company can justify a long term recovery.

We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don't have to lose the lesson.

View our latest analysis for Great Western Exploration

We don't think Great Western Exploration's revenue of AU$18,845 is enough to establish significant demand. You have to wonder why venture capitalists aren't funding it. So it seems shareholders are too busy dreaming about the progress to come than dwelling on the current (lack of) revenue. For example, investors may be hoping that Great Western Exploration finds some valuable resources, before it runs out of money.

Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. You should be aware that there is always a chance that this sort of company will need to issue more shares to raise money to continue pursuing its business plan. 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. Great Western Exploration has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.

When it reported in December 2018 Great Western Exploration had minimal cash in excess of all liabilities consider its expenditure: just AU$1.0m to be specific. So if it has not already moved to replenish reserves, we think the near-term chances of a capital raising event are pretty high. That probably explains why the share price is down 35% per year, over 5 years . You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Great Western Exploration's cash levels have changed over time. The image below shows how Great Western Exploration's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

ASX:GTE Historical Debt, September 23rd 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 costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 13% in the last year, Great Western Exploration shareholders lost 29%. 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. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 35% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. If you would like to research Great Western Exploration in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

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