The three-year underlying earnings growth at Dongguang Chemical (HKG:1702) is promising, but the shareholders are still in the red over that time

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 29, 2021
SEHK:1702
Source: Shutterstock

While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Dongguang Chemical Limited (HKG:1702) share price up 17% in a single 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 37% in three years and that return, Dear Reader, falls short of what you could have got from passive investing with an index fund.

With the stock having lost 12% in the past week, it's worth taking a look at business performance and seeing if there's any red flags.

See our latest analysis for Dongguang Chemical

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, Dongguang Chemical actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 38% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

It's worth taking a look at other metrics, because the EPS growth doesn't seem to match with the falling share price.

The company has kept revenue pretty healthy over the last three years, so we doubt that explains the falling share price. There doesn't seem to be any clear correlation between the fundamental business metrics and the share price. That could mean that the stock was previously overrated, or it could spell opportunity now.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
SEHK:1702 Earnings and Revenue Growth November 29th 2021

Take a more thorough look at Dongguang Chemical's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Dongguang Chemical, it has a TSR of -32% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Pleasingly, Dongguang Chemical's total shareholder return last year was 22%. That's including the dividend. This recent result is much better than the 10% drop suffered by shareholders each year (on average) over the last three. The optimist would say this is evidence that the stock has bottomed, and better days lie ahead. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Dongguang Chemical you should be aware of.

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 HK exchanges.

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