PostNL (AMS:PNL) investors are sitting on a loss of 59% if they invested three years ago

Investing in stocks inevitably means buying into some companies that perform poorly. But the long term shareholders of PostNL N.V. (AMS:PNL) have had an unfortunate run in the last three years. Unfortunately, they have held through a 70% decline in the share price in that time.

So let’s have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business’ progress.

View our latest analysis for PostNL

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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 five years of share price growth, PostNL moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So it’s worth looking at other metrics to try to understand the share price move.

We note that the dividend seems healthy enough, so that probably doesn’t explain the share price drop. On the other hand, the uninspired reduction in revenue, at 4.0% each year, may have shareholders ditching the stock. This could have some investors worried about the longer term growth potential (or lack thereof).

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growthearnings-and-revenue-growth

earnings-and-revenue-growth

We know that PostNL has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

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. We note that for PostNL the TSR over the last 3 years was -59%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

PostNL shareholders are down 14% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 22%. 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, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 4% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should “buy when there is blood on the streets”, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. 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 PostNL .

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 Dutch exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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