Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, the StatPro Group plc (LON:SOG) share price is up 71% in the last 5 years, clearly besting than the market return of around 6.4% (ignoring dividends).
Because StatPro Group is loss-making, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That’s because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
For the last half decade, StatPro Group can boast revenue growth at a rate of 14% per year. That’s a fairly respectable growth rate. Revenue has been growing at a reasonable clip, so it’s debatable whether the share price growth of 11% full reflects the underlying business growth. If revenue growth can maintain for long enough, it’s likely profits will flow. There’s no doubt that it can be difficult to value pre-profit companies.
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, StatPro Group’s TSR for the last 5 years was 96%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Investors in StatPro Group had a tough year, with a total loss of 12% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 2.4%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 14% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. You might want to assess this data-rich visualization of its earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course StatPro Group 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.