Enerflex Ltd. (TSE:EFX) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 49% in the last quarter. But over the last half decade, the stock has not performed well. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 44% in that half decade.
Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Over five years Enerflex's earnings per share dropped significantly, falling to a loss, with the share price also lower. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earnings. At present it's hard to make valid comparisons between EPS and the share price. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. This free interactive report on Enerflex's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Enerflex the TSR over the last 5 years was -37%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Enerflex shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 13% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That certainly beats the loss of about 7% per year over the last half decade. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. 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 1 warning sign for Enerflex that you should be aware of before investing here.
Enerflex is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA exchanges.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
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