If You Had Bought Amplia Therapeutics (ASX:ATX) Stock Five Years Ago, You’d Be Sitting On A 94% Loss, Today

We’re definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Anyone who held Amplia Therapeutics Limited (ASX:ATX) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 94% in that time. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 78% over the last twelve months. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 11% in the last 90 days.

We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It’s a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it’s worth keeping in mind there’s more to life than money, anyway.

View our latest analysis for Amplia Therapeutics

With zero revenue generated over twelve months, we don’t think that Amplia Therapeutics has proved its business plan yet. We can’t help wondering why it’s publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? 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. For example, they may be hoping that Amplia Therapeutics comes up with a great new treatment, before it runs out of money.

As a general rule, if a company doesn’t have much revenue, and it loses money, then it is a high risk investment. The 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. It certainly is a dangerous place to invest, as Amplia Therapeutics investors might realise.

When it reported in September 2018 Amplia Therapeutics had minimal net cash consider its expenditure: just AU$1.5m to be specific. So if it hasn’t remedied the situation already, it will almost certainly have to raise more capital soon. That probably explains why the share price is down 43% per year, over 5 years. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Amplia Therapeutics’s cash and debt levels have changed over time.

ASX:ATX Historical Debt, April 11th 2019
ASX:ATX Historical Debt, April 11th 2019

Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? It would bother me, that’s for sure. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.

A Different Perspective

Amplia Therapeutics shareholders are down 78% for the year, but the market itself is up 11%. 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. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 42% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. If you would like to research Amplia Therapeutics in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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