The five-year loss for De La Rue (LON:DLAR) shareholders likely driven by its shrinking earnings

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 16, 2022
LSE:DLAR
Source: Shutterstock

It's nice to see the De La Rue plc (LON:DLAR) share price up 10% in a week. 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 83% in that time. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we're certainly hesitant to rejoice. The million dollar question is whether the company can justify a long term recovery. While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.

The recent uptick of 10% could be a positive sign of things to come, so let's take a lot at historical fundamentals.

View our latest analysis for De La Rue

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Looking back five years, both De La Rue's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 27% per year. This change in EPS is reasonably close to the 30% average annual decrease in the share price. This suggests that market participants have not changed their view of the company all that much. So it's fair to say the share price has been responding to changes in EPS.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
LSE:DLAR Earnings Per Share Growth March 16th 2022

This free interactive report on De La Rue's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there's a difference between De La Rue's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Dividends have been really beneficial for De La Rue shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 80%, over the last 5 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that De La Rue shareholders are down 40% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 0.2%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 12% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand De La Rue better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for De La Rue you should be aware of.

We will like De La Rue better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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

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