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We're definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. We don't wish catastrophic capital loss on anyone. Spare a thought for those who held Equatorial Palm Oil plc (LON:PAL) for five whole years - as the share price tanked 92%. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 61% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 35% in thirty days.
While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.
We don't think Equatorial Palm Oil's revenue of US$171,000 is enough to establish significant demand. You have to wonder why venture capitalists aren't funding it. So it seems that the investors focused more on what could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). It seems likely some shareholders believe that Equatorial Palm Oil will significantly advance the business plan 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 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 go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. Some Equatorial Palm Oil investors have already had a taste of the bitterness stocks like this can leave in the mouth.
Equatorial Palm Oil had cash in excess of all liabilities of US$635k when it last reported (March 2019). While that's nothing to panic about, there is some possibility the company will raise more capital, especially if profits are not imminent. We'd venture that shareholders are concerned about the need for more capital, because the share price has dropped 39% per year, over 5 years. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Equatorial Palm Oil's cash levels have changed over time.
It can be extremely risky to invest in a company that doesn't even have revenue. There's no way to know its value easily. What if insiders are ditching the stock hand over fist? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 2.2% in the last year, Equatorial Palm Oil shareholders lost 61%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 39% per year over five years. 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. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course Equatorial Palm Oil may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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.