For many, the main point of investing in the stock market is to achieve spectacular returns. And highest quality companies can see their share prices grow by huge amounts. For example, the Sayona Mining Limited (ASX:SYA) share price is up a whopping 400% in the last half decade, a handsome return for long term holders. This just goes to show the value creation that some businesses can achieve. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 18% gain in the last three months.
Sayona Mining recorded just AU$124,098 in revenue over the last twelve months, which isn't really enough for us to consider it to have a proven product. As a result, we think it's unlikely shareholders are paying much attention to current revenue, but rather speculating on growth in the years to come. For example, investors may be hoping that Sayona Mining finds some valuable resources, before it runs out of money.
Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. There is almost always a chance they will need to raise more capital, and their progress - and share price - will dictate how dilutive that is to current holders. While some such companies do very well over the long term, others become hyped up by promoters before eventually falling back down to earth, and going bankrupt (or being recapitalized). Some Sayona Mining investors have already had a taste of the sweet taste stocks like this can leave in the mouth, as they gain popularity and attract speculative capital.
Sayona Mining had cash in excess of all liabilities of just AU$840k when it last reported (June 2019). So if it hasn't remedied the situation already, it will almost certainly have to raise more capital soon. Given how low on cash the it got, investors must really like its potential for the share price to be up 50% per year, over 5 years . You can see in the image below, how Sayona Mining's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values). The image below shows how Sayona Mining's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.
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. One thing you can do is check if company insiders are buying shares. If they are buying a significant amount of shares, that's certainly a good thing. You can click here to see if there are insiders buying.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between Sayona Mining's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. We note that Sayona Mining's TSR, at 468% is higher than its share price return of 400%. 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
While the broader market gained around 23% in the last year, Sayona Mining shareholders lost 58%. 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 42%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. If you would like to research Sayona Mining in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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. Thank you for reading.