Such Is Life: How Sportech (LON:SPO) Shareholders Saw Their Shares Drop 59%

For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn’t blame long term Sportech PLC (LON:SPO) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 59% over a half decade. And it’s not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 36% in the last year.

See our latest analysis for Sportech

Sportech isn’t currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. When a company doesn’t make profits, we’d generally expect to see good revenue growth. That’s because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.

In the last five years Sportech saw its revenue shrink by 14% per year. That puts it in an unattractive cohort, to put it mildly. Arguably, the market has responded appropriately to this business performance by sending the share price down 16% (annualized) in the same time period. We don’t generally like to own companies that lose money and don’t grow revenues. You might be better off spending your money on a leisure activity. This looks like a really risky stock to buy, at a glance.

The graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.

LSE:SPO Income Statement, April 9th 2019
LSE:SPO Income Statement, April 9th 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Sportech will earn in the future (free profit forecasts)

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there’s a difference between Sportech’s total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we’ve covered above. The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. We note that Sportech’s TSR, at -43% is higher than its share price return of -59%. When you consider it hasn’t been paying a dividend, this data suggests shareholders have benefitted from a spin-off, or had the opportunity to acquire attractively priced shares in a discounted capital raising.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 7.1% in the last year, Sportech shareholders lost 36%. 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. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 11% per year over five years. 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. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Sportech by clicking this link.

Sportech 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 GB 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.