Sartorius Aktiengesellschaft (ETR:SRT) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 23% in the last quarter. But that does not change the realty that the stock's performance has been terrific, over five years. To be precise, the stock price is 324% higher than it was five years ago, a wonderful performance by any measure. So we don't think the recent decline in the share price means its story is a sad one. Of course what matters most is whether the business can improve itself sustainably, thus justifying a higher price.
Although Sartorius has shed €855m from its market cap this week, let's take a look at its longer term fundamental trends and see if they've driven returns.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During five years of share price growth, Sartorius achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 25% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 33% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth. This optimism is visible in its fairly high P/E ratio of 72.30.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Sartorius' earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Sartorius' TSR for the last 5 years was 331%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Sartorius shareholders are down 14% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 7.3%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 34%, each year, over five years. 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Sartorius better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Sartorius you should know about.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on DE exchanges.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.