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The past three years for Neptune Wellness Solutions (TSE:NEPT) investors has not been profitable

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As every investor would know, not every swing hits the sweet spot. But you want to avoid the really big losses like the plague. So consider, for a moment, the misfortune of Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (TSE:NEPT) investors who have held the stock for three years as it declined a whopping 90%. That might cause some serious doubts about the merits of the initial decision to buy the stock, to put it mildly. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 80% in a year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 33% in the last three months. While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.

It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.

View our latest analysis for Neptune Wellness Solutions

Neptune Wellness Solutions wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. Some companies are willing to postpone profitability to grow revenue faster, but in that case one does expect good top-line growth.

Over three years, Neptune Wellness Solutions grew revenue at 27% per year. That is faster than most pre-profit companies. So why has the share priced crashed 24% per year, in the same time? You'd want to take a close look at the balance sheet, as well as the losses. Sometimes fast revenue growth doesn't lead to profits. If the company is low on cash, it may have to raise capital soon.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. You can see what analysts are predicting for Neptune Wellness Solutions in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 20% in the last year, Neptune Wellness Solutions shareholders lost 80%. 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 11% 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we've discovered 5 warning signs for Neptune Wellness Solutions (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.