Some Horizon Petroleum (CVE:HPL) Shareholders Have Taken A Painful 95% Share Price Drop

It is doubtless a positive to see that the Horizon Petroleum Ltd. (CVE:HPL) share price has gained some 38% in the last three months. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. Indeed, the share price is down a whopping 95% in that time. It’s true that the recent bounce could signal the company is turning over a new leaf, but we are not so sure. The real question is whether the business can leave its past behind and improve itself over the years ahead.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Horizon Petroleum

With zero revenue generated over twelve months, we don’t think that Horizon Petroleum has proved its business plan yet. This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won’t provide funds on attractive terms. 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 Horizon Petroleum finds fossil fuels with an exploration program, 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. Some Horizon Petroleum investors have already had a taste of the bitterness stocks like this can leave in the mouth.

Horizon Petroleum had net debt of CA$382,425 when it last reported in November 2018, according to our data. That puts it in the highest risk category, according to our analysis. But with the share price diving 45% per year, over 5 years, it’s probably fair to say that some shareholders no longer believe the company will succeed. The image below shows how Horizon Petroleum’s balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

TSXV:HPL Historical Debt, April 27th 2019
TSXV:HPL Historical Debt, April 27th 2019

In reality it’s hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither 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 costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.

A Different Perspective

Horizon Petroleum shareholders are down 8.3% for the year, but the market itself is up 6.0%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, longer term shareholders are suffering worse, given the loss of 45% doled out over the last five years. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares – and the price they paid.

Horizon Petroleum is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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 CA exchanges.

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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.