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Here’s why the Bellamy’s Australia Ltd share price has crashed 32%

Shares of Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) came under further pressure on Thursday, sliding 7% to just $11.14, despite the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) rallying 2.1% for the day.

The Tasmania-based business, which produces a number of food and formula products for babies and toddlers, was one of the most successful businesses on the ASX in 2015. Investors bid the shares higher and higher, rising as much as 900% at one point to a high of $16.50, as a result of surging infant formula sales around the globe.

Bellamy’s wasn’t the only company benefiting from the trend — shares of A2 MILK FPO NZ (ASX: A2M) also surged higher while Blackmores Limited’s (ASX: BKL) soared above $200 per share after it announced its own push into the lucrative space. Neither Bellamy’s nor A2 Milk were able to keep up with the sheer demand, making them clear favourites amongst investors.

However, all three shares have since come off the boil, with Bellamy’s having now lost almost a third of its market value since peaking in late December.

Considering the extreme gains posted by Bellamy’s in 2015, some shareholders are undoubtedly growing concerned about why the company’s shares are plummeting all of a sudden.

It’s worth noting that the company hasn’t released any particularly noteworthy announcements since late in November, when it said it had reached a new manufacturing agreement with FONTERRA ORD UNIT (ASX: FSF) (“Fonterra”). That was a positive announcement too, effectively boosting the amount of infant formula Bellamy’s is able to produce for the market.

Instead, it seems as though the falls could well be attributed to profit-taking. Even at today’s price, the shares aren’t necessarily ‘cheap’ by conventional standards and it will need to prove its ability to continue growing over the coming years to justify its valuation. Bellamy’s will release its half-year earnings results to the market on 19 February, which investors will be eager to read.

In saying that however, I believe that Bellamy’s has already shown its sheer potential. As a producer of one of the world’s most popular organic infant formulas, it is in a great position to benefit from growing demand both locally and internationally – particularly in China where many parents struggle to trust the products from Chinese producers themselves.

Of course, there is always the element of competition risk, including from its listed rivals mentioned above. Any industry experiencing such explosive growth as baby formula right now is bound to attract more parties as well, so Bellamy’s needs to ensure it maintains its strong reputation for quality products.

I’ll also note that I did sell a portion of my Bellamy’s shares not too long ago at around $13 before it hit its peak as I grew uncomfortable with the size of the position in my portfolio. However, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on in case the shares do fall any further.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Bellamy's Australia. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Bellamy's Australia. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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