Introducing Centrex Metals (ASX:CXM), The Stock That Tanked 77%

It’s not a secret that every investor will make bad investments, from time to time. But it should be a priority to avoid stomach churning catastrophes, wherever possible. So we hope that those who held Centrex Metals Limited (ASX:CXM) during the last year don’t lose the lesson, in addition to the 77% hit to the value of their shares. That’d be enough to make even the strongest stomachs churn. Notably, shareholders had a tough run over the longer term, too, with a drop of 64% in the last three years. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 43% in thirty days. We do note, however, that the broader market is down 25% in that period, and this may have weighed on the share price.

View our latest analysis for Centrex Metals

Centrex Metals recorded just AU$42,000 in revenue over the last twelve months, which isn’t really enough for us to consider it to have a proven product. You have to wonder why venture capitalists aren’t funding it. 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 Centrex Metals will find or develop a valuable new mine before too long.

Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. You should be aware that there is always a chance that this sort of company will need to issue more shares to raise money to continue pursuing its business plan. 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). Centrex Metals has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.

Centrex Metals had cash in excess of all liabilities of just AU$2.0m when it last reported (December 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. That probably explains why the share price is down 77% in the last year . You can see in the image below, how Centrex Metals’s cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values). The image below shows how Centrex Metals’s balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

ASX:CXM Historical Debt, March 13th 2020
ASX:CXM Historical Debt, March 13th 2020

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. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? I’d like that just about as much as I like to drink milk and fruit juice mixed together. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that Centrex Metals shareholders are down 77% for the year. Unfortunately, that’s worse than the broader market decline of 12%. Having said that, it’s inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 23% 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. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Centrex Metals better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 5 warning signs with Centrex Metals (at least 3 which don’t sit too well with us) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.