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The past three years for Molecular Partners (VTX:MOLN) investors has not been profitable

Every investor on earth makes bad calls sometimes. But you have a problem if you face massive losses more than once in a while. So take a moment to sympathize with the long term shareholders of Molecular Partners AG (VTX:MOLN), who have seen the share price tank a massive 85% over a three year period. That'd be enough to cause even the strongest minds some disquiet. And more recent buyers are having a tough time too, with a drop of 37% in the last year. Even worse, it's down 13% in about a month, which isn't fun at all. 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.

It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.

See our latest analysis for Molecular Partners

Because Molecular Partners made a loss in the last twelve months, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.

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Over three years, Molecular Partners grew revenue at 38% per year. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. So on the face of it we're really surprised to see the share price down 23% a year in the same time period. You'd want to take a close look at the balance sheet, as well as the losses. Ultimately, revenue growth doesn't amount to much if the business can't scale well. If the company is low on cash, it may have to raise capital soon.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

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

Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

A Different Perspective

Investors in Molecular Partners had a tough year, with a total loss of 37%, against a market gain of about 9.7%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 12% per year over five years. 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. 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. Take risks, for example - Molecular Partners has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

Of course Molecular Partners may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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