It's nice to see the Lipocine Inc. (NASDAQ:LPCN) share price up 13% in a week. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 94% lower after that period. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we're certainly hesitant to rejoice. The fundamental business performance will ultimately determine if the turnaround can be sustained.
We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.
Lipocine recorded just US$164,990 in revenue over the last twelve months, which isn't really enough for us to consider it to have a proven product. We can't help wondering why it's publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? As a result, we think it's unlikely shareholders are paying much attention to current revenue, but rather speculating on growth in the years to come. Investors will be hoping that Lipocine can make progress and gain better traction for the business, before it runs low on cash.
Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. There is almost always a chance they will need to raise more capital, and their progress - and share price - will dictate how dilutive that is to current holders. While some such companies go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. It certainly is a dangerous place to invest, as Lipocine investors might realise.
Lipocine had cash in excess of all liabilities of just US$698k when it last reported (December 2019). So if it has not already moved to replenish reserves, we think the near-term chances of a capital raising event are pretty high. With that in mind, you can understand why the share price dropped 43% per year, over 5 years. You can see in the image below, how Lipocine's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).
Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? I'd like that just about as much as I like to drink milk and fruit juice mixed together. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 4.8% in the twelve months, Lipocine shareholders did even worse, losing 75%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 43% 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Lipocine better, we need to consider many other factors. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for Lipocine (of which 1 can't be ignored!) you should know about.
Lipocine is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.
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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