Introducing Quarterhill (TSE:QTRH), The Stock That Slid 54% In The Last Five Years

Quarterhill Inc. (TSE:QTRH) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 11% in the last quarter. But that doesn’t change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been less than pleasing. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 54% in that half decade.

View our latest analysis for Quarterhill

Given that Quarterhill didn’t make a profit in the last twelve months, we’ll focus on revenue growth to form a quick view of its business development. 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.

In the last half decade, Quarterhill saw its revenue increase by 2.8% per year. That’s not a very high growth rate considering it doesn’t make profits. It’s likely this weak growth has contributed to an annualised return of 14% for the last five years. We want to see an acceleration of revenue growth (or profits) before showing much interest in this one. However, it’s possible too many in the market will ignore it, and there may be an opportunity if it starts to recover down the track.

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

TSX:QTRH Income Statement, November 4th 2019
TSX:QTRH Income Statement, November 4th 2019

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. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Quarterhill

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Quarterhill the TSR over the last 5 years was -45%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It’s nice to see that Quarterhill shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 9.0% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. There’s no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 11% per year over five years. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

Quarterhill is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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