EnQuest PLC (LON:ENQ) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 38% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been less than pleasing. Truth be told the share price declined 51% in three years and that return, Dear Reader, falls short of what you could have got from passive investing with an index fund.
Given that EnQuest didn't make a profit in the last twelve months, we'll focus on revenue growth to form a quick view of its business development. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.
Over three years, EnQuest grew revenue at 29% per year. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. In contrast, the share price is down 15% compound, over three years - disappointing by most standards. This could mean hype has come out of the stock because the losses are concerning investors. But a share price drop of that magnitude could well signal that the market is overly negative on the stock.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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 we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between EnQuest's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. 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 EnQuest's TSR, at -43% is higher than its share price return of -51%. 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 lost about 1.1% in the twelve months, EnQuest shareholders did even worse, losing 39%. 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 5%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with EnQuest (at least 1 which is potentially serious) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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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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. 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.
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