Easy Come, Easy Go: How Petrolympic (CVE:PCQ) Shareholders Got Unlucky And Saw 80% Of Their Cash Evaporate

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While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Petrolympic Ltd. (CVE:PCQ) share price up 30% in a single quarter. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 80% lower after that period. So we don’t gain too much confidence from the recent recovery. The important question is if the business itself justifies a higher share price in the long term.

See our latest analysis for Petrolympic

Petrolympic hasn’t yet reported any revenue yet, so it’s as much a business idea as an actual business. 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 Petrolympic 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. There 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. Petrolympic has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.

Petrolympic had liabilities exceeding cash by CA$507,539 when it last reported in March 2019, according to our data. That makes it extremely high risk, in our view. But since the share price has dived -28% per year, over 5 years, it looks like some investors think it’s time to abandon ship, so to speak. The image below shows how Petrolympic’s balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

TSXV:PCQ Historical Debt, July 9th 2019
TSXV:PCQ Historical Debt, July 9th 2019

In reality it’s hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. What if insiders are ditching the stock hand over fist? 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

While the broader market gained around 0.3% in the last year, Petrolympic shareholders lost 48%. 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. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 28% over the last half decade. 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. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course Petrolympic 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 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.