These are the 5 worst performing ASX shares of 2021

The worst performing share in the All Ords tumbled 82% — ouch!

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It was a prosperous year for Australian equities in 2021. Most of the ASX shares in the top 200 shook off concerns of new COVID-19 strains and tightening monetary policy by central banks. However, some companies weren’t as fortunate throughout the year.

We’ve put the constituents of the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) under the microscope to uncover the shares that were least favoured by investors in the last year.

Count yourself lucky if none of these companies were in your portfolio in 2021. The following five ASX shares were bullets worth dodging.

5 worst performing ASX All Ords shares of 2021

Laybuy Holdings Ltd (ASX: LBY)

Illustrating the destruction across buy now, pay later (BNPL) shares in 2021, instalment payment provider Laybuy takes the crown for the worst performing ASX share of the year.

The company made its entrance into the year at a price of $1.30. By the time the curtains drew close on 2021, Laybuy shares were fetching 24 cents apiece — representing a stomach-churning 82% fall over the course of the year.

While Laybuy managed to achieve a record year in terms of revenue and gross merchandise value, investors punished the share price as sentiment waned across the BNPL sector.

Splitit Ltd (ASX: SPT)

Continuing the trend, the next poorest performing ASX share making the list is another instalment payment provider.

Splitit couldn’t escape the shift in how bullish investors were on BNPL companies. In turn, Splitit shares plummeted 81% by the end of the year. A steep increase in bottom-line losses likely didn’t help with the company’s appeal in 2021. Losses ballooned to US$35.2 million in FY21 compared to US$26.6 million in FY20.

Currently, Splitit shares are trading at 26 cents per share, down a further 10% on Thursday.

Ora Banda Mining Ltd (ASX: OBM)

2021 wasn’t kind to ASX-listed gold mining shares. Even the giants of the game suffered throughout the year. Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX: NCM), Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST), and Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) all witnessed a fall of 10% to 30%.

Though, it was the more speculative segment of the gold mining market that was smashed. Perth-based Ora Banda Mining sank 78% last year. Shares in the company continued to move lower after Ora Banda raised $21 million to fund the development of its Davyhurst Gold Project.

Damstra Holdings Ltd (ASX: DTC)

Turning towards the tech-end of the town, workplace management solutions provider Damstra was a drag on investors’ portfolios in 2021.

The Damstra share price waltzed into last year at $1.53 after having gained ~32% in the previous year. However, shares gradually declined as the company experienced challenges. These included a contractual dispute with a client and a reduction of service to another client.

As a result, FY22 guidance was cut to between $30 billion to $34 million, down from $35.9 million to $38.9 million. The mounting disappointments were reflected in the 78% fall in Damstra shares in 2021.

Cleanspace Holdings Ltd (ASX: CSX)

Rounding out the top five worst-performing ASX shares of 2021 is respiratory protection equipment manufacturer, Cleanspace.

The company enjoyed a record-setting year in 2020 as demand for respirators skyrocketed in the face of COVID-19. Opportunistically, shares in Cleanspace debuted on the ASX in October 2020.

Unfortunately for investors, a sudden dropoff in sales in the second half of FY21 led to a 50% crash in Cleanspace shares. The Cleanspace share price continued to face challenges throughout the remainder of 2021 to finish the year 78% lower.

Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns and has recommended Damstra Holdings Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns and has recommended Damstra Holdings Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended CleanSpace Holdings Limited. 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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