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REVEALED: The 5 WORST ASX shares of 2016

Credit: Sirtex Medical

The following list of ASX shares reveals the five worst-performing Australian public companies of 2016 (so far) according to the following characteristics:

  • Must have a market capitalisation of more than $200 million
  • Must have been listed prior to 2016, and
  • The company is still listed
  1. Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL) – down 50.4%

Blackmores shares were the market darlings of 2015. However, in April 2016 and August 2016 the company suffered huge intraday falls. In August, the vitamins cum infant formula maker announced a 115% rise in profit but forecast a very weak outlook for the year ahead. While a very similar story has been told for many ASX-listed companies focused on the Chinese consumer market, Blackmores’ shares were priced richly leading into the announcement.

  1. Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH) – down 51.7%

Virgin Australia is a classic case of going from bad to worse. With oil prices – a key expense for airlines – hitting multi-year lows at the beginning of 2016, the Virgin Australia share price was flying high around 50 cents. However, with oil staging a modest recovery it’s easy to see why Virgin Australia shares change hands at just 22.5 cents today.

  1. CSG Limited (ASX: CSG) – down 57.8%

The second biggest loser over the past year is CSG Limited, a $230 million print and technology solutions provider which has suffered a number of large share price falls over the past year. Most recently in November the company announced a weak market update revealing soft margins, shifting demands and low volumes.

  1. Estia Health Ltd (ASX: EHE) – down 59.6%

Estia Health shareholders have been at the receiving end of a change in regulation alongside retirees’ preference to keep their money in their own pockets rather than pay large deposits to aged care providers. The company has been all but forced to raise capital at a bad time. Further, the departure of the company’s founder is another red flag for shareholders to deal with. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this company fares in 2017.

  1. Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) – down 62.3%

The title of the ASX’s worst performer of 2016 goes to Sirtex – the biotechnology business. Despite trading around $40 this time last year, Sirtex shares now change hands for under $15. Following a series of trading updates, the $860 million company’s share price more than halved. Currently, the Sirtex board is investigating its own CEO amid heightened scrutiny from investors that were disappointed in his selling of $2.1 million of shares, before its most recent share price plunge.

Foolish Takeaway

Sometimes, scouring the bottom of the performance tables can unearth some great investing opportunities. Indeed, among last year’s worst performers were resource businesses, which are cyclical by design and have rallied in 2017. However, of the five companies listed above, I think most of their issues appear specific to them and may even be somewhat structural.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

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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