While Tata Communications Limited (NSE:TATACOMM) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 16% in the last quarter. In contrast, the return over three years has been impressive. In fact, the share price is up a full 128% compared to three years ago. So the recent fall in the share price should be viewed in that context. The thing to consider is whether the underlying business is doing well enough to support the current price.
Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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 three years of share price growth, Tata Communications moved from a loss to profitability. Given the importance of this milestone, it's not overly surprising that the share price has increased strongly.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Tata Communications has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? Take a more thorough look at Tata Communications' financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Tata Communications, it has a TSR of 133% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Tata Communications shareholders gained a total return of 18% during the year. But that was short of the market average. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it's actually better than the average return of 14% over half a decade It is possible that returns will improve along with the business fundamentals. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Tata Communications .
But note: Tata Communications may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on IN exchanges.
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.