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It is a pleasure to report that the Lydian International Limited (TSE:LYD) is up 58% in the last quarter. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. Indeed, the share price is down a whopping 87% in that time. The recent bounce might mean the long decline is over, but we are not confident. The fundamental business performance will ultimately determine if the turnaround can be sustained.
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.
Lydian International didn't have any revenue in the last year, so it's fair to say it doesn't yet have a proven product (or at least not one people are paying for). This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won't provide funds on attractive terms. So it seems shareholders are too busy dreaming about the progress to come than dwelling on the current (lack of) revenue. It seems likely some shareholders believe that Lydian International will find or develop a valuable new mine before too long.
As a general rule, if a company doesn't have much revenue, and it loses money, then it is a high risk investment. 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 go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. Lydian International has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.
Lydian International had liabilities exceeding cash by US$359,555,000 when it last reported in March 2019, according to our data. That makes it extremely high risk, in our view. But with the share price diving 34% per year, over 5 years, it's probably fair to say that some shareholders no longer believe the company will succeed. You can see in the image below, how Lydian International's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).
Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. What if insiders are ditching the stock hand over fist? It would bother me, that's for sure. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.
A Different Perspective
Lydian International shareholders are down 57% for the year, but the market itself is up 1.4%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 34% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. You could get a better understanding of Lydian International's growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 CA 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 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. Thank you for reading.