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Can You Imagine How Chuffed Emergent BioSolutions's (NYSE:EBS) Shareholders Feel About Its 142% Share Price Gain?

Simply Wall St

The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. One great example is Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE:EBS) which saw its share price drive 142% higher over five years. On top of that, the share price is up 22% in about a quarter.

Check out our latest analysis for Emergent BioSolutions

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

Emergent BioSolutions's earnings per share are down 1.0% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.

By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the decline in earnings per share is not representative of how the business has changed over the years. Therefore, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movements.

On the other hand, Emergent BioSolutions's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 15% over the last five years. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NYSE:EBS Income Statement, October 25th 2019

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Emergent BioSolutions

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there's a difference between Emergent BioSolutions'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. We note that Emergent BioSolutions's TSR, at 159% is higher than its share price return of 142%. When you consider it hasn't been paying a dividend, this data suggests shareholders have benefitted from a spin-off, or had the opportunity to acquire attractively priced shares in a discounted capital raising.

A Different Perspective

Investors in Emergent BioSolutions had a tough year, with a total loss of 10%, against a market gain of about 13%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 21%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. If you would like to research Emergent BioSolutions in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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