After sliding in consecutive trading sessions all last week, Ferroglobe PLC (NASDAQ:GSM) stock finally entered 2017 -- with a thud. The stock fell 14.3% in early trading today, and was trading down 12.8% as of 12:45 p.m. EST.
Blame a management change for the slump. Yesterday, before stocks had resumed trading in the new year, Ferroglobe announced the departure of its executive chairman and founder, Alan Kestenbaum. Mr. Kestenbaum resigned from Ferroglobe's board of directors effective Dec. 31, 2016, and while he will continue working with the company as an "independent consultant" on "strategic and business-critical matters," he has been replaced as executive chairman by current board vice-chairman Javier Lopez Madrid.
In a press release on the management change, Ferroglobe noted that despite his departure from management, Kestenbaum "is a significant shareholder of the company and intends to remain so in the future." But should you?
Ferroglobe reported strong sales growth of 18% last quarter, but remains unprofitable, and reported a much larger loss than expected last quarter -- $0.09 per share lost, when analysts had been expecting Ferroglobe to lose only a penny a share. On the other hand, the company continues to generate strong free cash flow from its business -- $53 million over the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, analysts who follow the company see earnings turning positive again in relatively short order, and exceeding $1 a share as early as 2018. With the stock trading today for less than 10 times those expected earnings, investors might want to stick around and see how this story turns out -- with or without the founder.