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Here’s why Bellamy’s Australia Ltd shares could be worth a closer look

Shares of Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) have given investors a reason to smile again today, rising 4.2% with the ALL ORDINARIES (Index: ^AXAO) (ASX: XAO) trading flat by comparison.

Bellamy’s is the producer of organic food and formula products for babies and infants. It’s a well-known brand and highly sought after both locally and internationally by parents who inherently want the best quality for their children. This is particularly the case in China where the middle-class population has reason to doubt the quality of home-grown food products and are thus prepared to pay a high premium for the products of Western companies such as Bellamy’s.

This trend saw demand for Bellamy’s products soar in 2015, whereby supermarkets and pharmacies around the country had a tough time keeping their shelves stocked. The a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M) experienced a similar issue.

Of course, the demand also saw shares of Bellamy’s soar. They floated for $1 in August 2014 and were trading for $1.65 by the beginning of 2015, before skyrocketing as much as 900% come December when they traded for $16.50.

Unfortunately for investors who bought in near the top, the shares have heavily underperformed the market in the time since and are fetching just $10.92 today, although they did slip as low as $9.51 recently.

Is it time to buy Bellamy’s Australia Ltd?

Aside from investors taking their profits off the table, part of the recent falls could be attributed to the increased risk that China will crackdown on any ‘grey market’ sales, which are those that involve a person buying the product in Australia and then selling them online to Chinese residents.

This is believed to be a big source of revenue for both Bellamy’s and a2 Milk – at least for now – and is worth considering before you make a move into the sector.

Still, even with the recent declines, Bellamy’s has enjoyed a spectacular run and generated early shareholders some huge gains. Of course, it is disappointing to see shares fall so heavily, but perhaps also justifiable considering the sky-high valuation they were given at the end of last year.

Bellamy’s shares still aren’t cheap, and that might be enough to deter some investors from buying its shares today. In saying that however, investors do sometimes need to be prepared to pay for quality, and Bellamy’s is just that.

Sure, you may have missed the initial run and the initial gains, but there is every reason to believe that Bellamy’s still has a very strong growth runway ahead of it. Don’t expect the shares to double or triple any time soon, but they could well be worth a look for long-term investors in case they do fall much 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.