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Such Is Life: How Ausgold (ASX:AUC) Shareholders Saw Their Shares Drop 57%

Simply Wall St

Ausgold Limited (ASX:AUC) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 33% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been disappointing. In that time, the share price dropped 57%. So it is really good to see an improvement. After all, could be that the fall was overdone.

Check out our latest analysis for Ausgold

With just AU$5,975 worth of revenue in twelve months, we don't think the market considers Ausgold to have proven its business plan. This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won't provide funds on attractive terms. 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. It seems likely some shareholders believe that Ausgold will find or develop a valuable new mine 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 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). It certainly is a dangerous place to invest, as Ausgold investors might realise.

Our data indicates that Ausgold had AU$1,083,015 more in total liabilities than it had cash, when it last reported in December 2018. That puts it in the highest risk category, according to our analysis. But with the share price diving 25% per year, over 3 years, it's probably fair to say that some shareholders no longer believe the company will succeed. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Ausgold's cash levels have changed over time. The image below shows how Ausgold's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

ASX:AUC Historical Debt, September 13th 2019

In reality it's hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. Would it bother you if insiders were selling the stock? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. You can click here to see if there are insiders selling.

A Different Perspective

Investors in Ausgold had a tough year, with a total loss of 13%, against a market gain of about 13%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 15% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

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 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.