Paragon Care Ltd (ASX: PGC) shares have fallen more than 50% in just over one year. Is it now safe to take a closer look or has the share price got further to fall?

Who Are Paragon?

Paragon is an integrated healthcare equipment and services provider for the Australian and New Zealand healthcare market. The company has progressively acquired a series of businesses in the healthcare space in order for it to provide end to end solutions including equipment, devices and service solutions to the industry.

Making Sense Of The Numbers

Due to the primary way in which Paragon grows its business — via acquisitions — it can be difficult to decipher exactly what the financial results are telling us at any one time. For example, whilst Paragon reported a huge 88% increase in revenue for the 2019 financial year (FY19) it simultaneously reported an even bigger decline in net profit which swung violently from a profit of $10.95 million in FY18 to a net loss of $14.39 million in FY19.

What may cloud one’s assessment of the Paragon performance is the fact that the average number of shares on issue rose by more than one third during FY19. This is a result of the company issuing more shares in order to fund its acquisition spree. You can read about the dangers of investing in company’s that rely on acquisitions in order to grow here.

Despite raising millions of dollars in capital thanks to the generosity of shareholders Paragon has also used significant amounts of debt in order to pay for their myriad of acquisitions. As at June 30 2019, Paragon was carrying $65 million in net debt on the balance sheet having reduced this number slightly throughout FY19.

Management have acted prudently in not declaring a final dividend and should now be focusing on bedding down the acquisitions made, successfully integrating them into the company.

What Does Paragon’s Future Look Like?

Paragon is targeting $6.5 million of cost savings over the next 18 months as they continue with their transformation strategy. The company refrained from providing any specific profit guidance for FY20 but did say they expected synergies from the transformation program to deliver significant benefits from the second half of FY20.

The Paragon share price continued its decline after the results were released late last week falling by as much as 15% on Friday. Investors may have lost patience as the promise of riches has so far failed to materialise from the company’s acquisition-focused strategy.

Would I Consider Buying Now?

Although I do find the company an interesting prospect I am scared of the potential monsters in the closet. Whenever a company relies so heavily on acquiring other businesses in order to grow there is the ever-present threat of not so ‘one-off’ writedowns and asset impairments. I prefer to find companies that have the ability to grow organically.


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Disclaimer: Any information contained in this article is limited to general financial/investment advice only. The information has not taken into account your specific needs, goals or objectives, so please consider consulting a licenced and trusted adviser before acting on the information. Please read The Rask Group’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information. This article is authorised by Owen Raszkiewicz of The Rask Group, which is a corporate authorised representative No. 1264179 of Strawman Pty Ltd (ACN: 610 908 211) (AFSL: 501 223).

Disclosure: At the time of publishing, Luke has no financial interest in any companies mentioned.