The five-year underlying earnings growth at Befimmo (EBR:BEFB) is promising, but the shareholders are still in the red over that time

Simply Wall St
November 22, 2021
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Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term Befimmo SA (EBR:BEFB) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 37% over a half decade.

Given the past week has been tough on shareholders, let's investigate the fundamentals and see what we can learn.

See our latest analysis for Befimmo

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

While the share price declined over five years, Befimmo actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 5.3% per year. So it doesn't seem like EPS is a great guide to understanding how the market is valuing the stock. Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.

Because of the sharp contrast between the EPS growth rate and the share price growth, we're inclined to look to other metrics to understand the changing market sentiment around the stock.

We note that the dividend has fallen in the last five years, so that may have contributed to the share price decline. The revenue decline of 0.8% per year wouldn't have helped. So it seems weak revenue and dividend trends may have influenced the share price.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

ENXTBR:BEFB Earnings and Revenue Growth November 23rd 2021

If you are thinking of buying or selling Befimmo stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Befimmo, it has a TSR of -21% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Befimmo shareholders are down 8.2% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 16%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 4% 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Befimmo (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.

Of course Befimmo 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 BE exchanges.

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