Ocean Bio-Chem's (NASDAQ:OBCI) three-year total shareholder returns outpace the underlying earnings growth

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 20, 2021
NasdaqCM:OBCI
Source: Shutterstock

Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. (NASDAQ:OBCI) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 18% in the last month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been very strong. Indeed, the share price is up a very strong 173% in that time. It's not uncommon to see a share price retrace a bit, after a big gain. The thing to consider is whether the underlying business is doing well enough to support the current price.

While the stock has fallen 17% this week, it's worth focusing on the longer term and seeing if the stocks historical returns have been driven by the underlying fundamentals.

See our latest analysis for Ocean Bio-Chem

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 three years of share price growth, Ocean Bio-Chem achieved compound earnings per share growth of 38% per year. This EPS growth is remarkably close to the 40% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that sentiment and expectations have not changed drastically. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
NasdaqCM:OBCI Earnings Per Share Growth November 21st 2021

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

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. We note that for Ocean Bio-Chem the TSR over the last 3 years was 182%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 30% in the last year, Ocean Bio-Chem shareholders lost 23% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 22%, 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. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Ocean Bio-Chem (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable) that 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 US exchanges.

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