Why shares of iSentia Group Ltd are getting crushed in 2016

Shares of iSentia Group Ltd (ASX: ISD) are plunging again today.

In what has been a brutal year for investors in the business, the shares are trading 6.2% lower on Tuesday. They’re currently changing hands for just $3.05, equal to the stock’s 52-week low price, which is 36.9% below their price at the beginning of the year.

In a nutshell, iSentia is a business that provides media monitoring and intelligence services to business and government customers, which include some of the biggest companies in the world. It gathers information from thousands of sources (such as newspapers, social media pages and radio broadcasts, to name a few) and reports the info to its customers who want to know what is being said about them, when, and by whom.

Clearly, investors have become less enthusiastic about the company’s growth potential, particularly after iSentia Group released its first-half earnings figures in February this year (which in itself prompted a sell-down of nearly 10% on the day).

Although revenue and underlying net profit (NPATA) both rose 22% during the first six months of financial year 2016 (FY16), it seems investors were disappointed with its growth in its core Australia and New Zealand market. Revenue from the region grew just 6%, compared to 22% in Asia, with group operating expenses also rising faster than revenue.

iSentia will announce its full-year results to the market on Wednesday 24 August, but until then it seems investors are becoming less willing to take a bet on iSentia’s prospects.

Of course, it isn’t without risk: investors do need to keep an eye on the company’s growth rates – both in ANZ and abroad.

However, for long-term investors who are somewhat more optimistic regarding the group’s future, now could be a good time to purchase shares. According to estimates from four analysts compiled by Yahoo! Finance, iSentia will generate earnings per share of 16 cents for the full-year, putting it on a forward price-earnings ratio of just over 19x.

Considering the returns that iSentia has generated in the past, and its potential to continue doing that in the future (despite its first-half result), that does make iSentia worthy of a closer look.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of iSentia Group Ltd. 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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