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Opthea (ASX:OPT) Shareholders Have Enjoyed A Magnificent 1671% Share Price Gain

Simply Wall St

We think all investors should try to buy and hold high quality multi-year winners. And we've seen some truly amazing gains over the years. For example, the Opthea Limited (ASX:OPT) share price is up a whopping 1671% in the last half decade, a handsome return for long term holders. If that doesn't get you thinking about long term investing, we don't know what will. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 16% gain in the last three months.

Anyone who held for that rewarding ride would probably be keen to talk about it.

Check out our latest analysis for Opthea

Opthea recorded just AU$240,109 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. It seems likely some shareholders believe that Opthea has the funding to invent a new product before too long.

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). Opthea has already given some investors a taste of the sweet gains that high risk investing can generate, if your timing is right.

Opthea had cash in excess of all liabilities of just AU$15m when it last reported (June 2019). So if it has not already moved to replenish reserves, we think the near-term chances of a capital raising event are pretty high. It's a testament to the popularity of the business plan that the share price gained 19% per year, over 5 years , despite the weak balance sheet. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Opthea's cash levels have changed over time. The image below shows how Opthea's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

ASX:OPT Historical Debt, November 12th 2019

In reality it's hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. However you can take a look at whether insiders have been buying up shares. If they are buying a significant amount of shares, that's certainly a good thing. Luckily we are in a position to provide you with this free chart of insider buying (and selling).

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Opthea's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. 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. Opthea hasn't been paying dividends, but its TSR of 1689% exceeds its share price return of 1671%, implying it has either spun-off a business, or raised capital at a discount; thereby providing additional value to shareholders.

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Opthea shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 423% over the last year. That's better than the annualised return of 78% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. If you would like to research Opthea in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

We will like Opthea better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.