In the past year, a number of companies have seen their share prices hammered, while the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is also down more than 13%.
There are no prizes for guessing that some of the share prices hurt the most belong to companies involved one way or another in commodities. But not all commodity companies have suffered the same fate, and a number of large industrial type companies have also suffered.
The question for many investors still holding shares is whether they turn things around. Here we take a look at 3 of them…
Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH)
The law firm has had a shocking 12 months, with the share price sinking 96% to 30 cents currently. A disastrous UK acquisition, changes to accounting practices, UK regulatory changes, and a high debt load have now raised serious questions whether Slaters can continue operating. The share price is likely to be volatile until Slaters shows signs of stability and progress with its debt and UK businesses, or in a worst-case scenario – topples over. Not one for the faint-hearted, and Foolish investors might want to avoid this highly risky company altogether.
Perhaps one positive would be a change of management and implementation of more conservative accounting practices.
Bradken Limited (ASX: BKN)
The heavy engineering company has seen its share price plunge 64% since March 2015 to its current level of around 67 cents, mostly thanks to poor financial results as mining capital expenditure around the globe slows rapidly. But at some stage, Bradken is likely to be swallowed by a suitor – of which it has had a number over the past few years. Private Equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Pacific Equity Partners have both tried to put bids on the table for the company in the past two years (at much higher prices).
The key concerns though are that mining capex is still falling, and while Bradken has paid off a substantial amount of its debt, it still has more than $400 million of debt against $60 million of cash, and a market cap of $115 million. Still, Bradken’s shares are trading at a substantial discount to book value, which may offer an opportunity.
Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN)
The commercial television broadcaster is essentially the third wheel behind the dominant Nine and Seven networks. Ten’s share price is down 55% since last year – currently around $1.00.
While performance and market share have been improving, that means little in a structurally changing sector.
Linear TV is losing its relevance and advertisers know it. They are increasingly spending more on other digital platforms and less on TV, which could see one commercial broadcaster leave the sector. Given Nine and Seven’s dominance, Ten is the most likely candidate, unless the changes to Australia’s media laws see Ten team up with a stronger partner.
Of the three companies above, Bradken and Ten offer the best compromise between price and risk in my view –there’s just too much risk around Slater & Gordon. Having said that, there are better alternatives out there, so why risk your hard earned on any of them?
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Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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