We're definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. For example, we sympathize with anyone who was caught holding Gulf Marine Services PLC (LON:GMS) during the five years that saw its share price drop a whopping 89%. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 12% in the last 90 days. While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.
Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
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. 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.
Gulf Marine Services became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
The revenue fall of 1.1% per year for five years is neither good nor terrible. But it's quite possible the market had expected better; a closer look at the revenue trends might explain the pessimism.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It is of course excellent to see how Gulf Marine Services has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Gulf Marine Services shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 8.4% over one year. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 14% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Gulf Marine Services better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Gulf Marine Services (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable) that you should be aware of.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
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. 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.
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