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Investors Who Bought Liminal BioSciences (TSE:LMNL) Shares Five Years Ago Are Now Down 100%

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Liminal BioSciences Inc. (TSE:LMNL) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 12% in the last week. But will that heal all the wounds inflicted over 5 years of declines? Unlikely. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 100% lower after that period. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we're certainly hesitant to rejoice. The important question is if the business itself justifies a higher share price in the long term.

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.

See our latest analysis for Liminal BioSciences

With just CA$3,743,000 worth of revenue in twelve months, we don't think the market considers Liminal BioSciences to have proven its business plan. 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, they may be hoping that Liminal BioSciences comes up with a great new product, before it runs out of money.

We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty 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 to raise equity. 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. Liminal BioSciences has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.

Our data indicates that Liminal BioSciences had CA$27m more in total liabilities than it had cash, when it last reported in March 2020. That puts it in the highest risk category, according to our analysis. But since the share price has dived -65% per year, over 5 years , it looks like some investors think it's time to abandon ship, so to speak. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Liminal BioSciences's cash levels have changed over time.

TSX:LMNL Historical Debt May 22nd 2020
TSX:LMNL Historical Debt May 22nd 2020

Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? I'd like that just about as much as I like to drink milk and fruit juice mixed together. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that Liminal BioSciences shareholders are down 73% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 11%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 65% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild 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 business. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For example, we've discovered 5 warning signs for Liminal BioSciences (2 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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

Love or hate this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email 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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.