Imagine Owning Saipem (BIT:SPM) And Taking A 97% Loss Square On The Chin

We’re definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. We really hate to see fellow investors lose their hard-earned money. Spare a thought for those who held Saipem S.p.A. (BIT:SPM) for five whole years – as the share price tanked 97%. Unhappily, the share price slid 2.0% in the last week.

We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don’t have to lose the lesson.

View our latest analysis for Saipem

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

We know that Saipem has been profitable in the past. However, it made a loss in the last twelve months, suggesting profit may be an unreliable metric at this stage. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

Arguably, the revenue drop of 10.0% a year for half a decade suggests that the company can’t grow in the long term. That could explain the weak share price.

You can see below how revenue has changed over time.

BIT:SPM Income Statement, October 23rd 2019
BIT:SPM Income Statement, October 23rd 2019

Saipem is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. You can see what analysts are predicting for Saipem in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there’s a difference between Saipem’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. Saipem’s TSR of was a loss of 76% for the 5 years. That wasn’t as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 21% in the last year, Saipem shareholders lost 8.1%. 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. Unfortunately, longer term shareholders are suffering worse, given the loss of 25% doled out over the last five years. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. You might want to assess this data-rich visualization of its earnings, revenue and cash flow.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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