• There’s 44 companies on the ASX whose shares are still down by at least 50 per cent from the start of the year
  • Flight Centre and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield are among the larger companies that have suffered
  • Others include Southern Cross Media, Avita Medical and Sky TV

The last eight months or so have been a helluva time for the ASX, but a few dozen shares haven’t come along for the ride.

As of December 14, 44 companies were trading at half their value or less from where they began the year, despite months of fiscal stimulus and vaccine optimism.

We aren’t about to vouch for any of these companies, but value hunters who believe in “buying low” could do a lot worse than beginning there research here.

The list includes 22 nanocap companies (worth under $50 million), 16 microcaps (worth between $50 million and $200 million), four small-caps (worth between $200 million and $1.5 billion) and one mid-cap: Flight Centre (ASX:FLT), whose shares have been trading around $16 to $17 recently, compared to just under $40 at the beginning of 2020.

European mall owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) is the only large-cap company on the list. Its shares on December 14 were trading recently at $4.98, down 52.3 per cent from the start of the year.

The worst performance belongs to ChongHerr Investment (ASX:CDH), a Queensland sandstone quarrying company whose shares have been suspended from trade since April 2.

Its shares last traded for 0.2c a share, down 80 per cent from the start of the year, giving it a market capitalisation of $260,000 – truly “nano”.


Code Company Price (Dec 14) YTD return % 30-day return
CDH ChongHerr Investment 0.2 -81.8
E2E Eon Nrg 0.1 -80.0
BLY Boart Longyear 36 -77.9 -7.7
EN1 Engage:Bdr 0.6 -72.7
CAG Caperange 22 -67.6 10.0
CG1 Carbonxt Group 17 -67.3 -5.6
ABL Abilene Oil & Gas 0.1 -66.7
BHD Benjamin Horngld 26 -63.4 -7.1
CFO Cfoam 2.6 -63.0
EGY Energy Tech 8.1 -61.7 1.3
AVR Anteris Technologies 395 -60.5 10.3
A3D Aurora Labs 7.8 -60.0 -9.3
BIR BIR Financial 4 -60.0
DXN DXN 1.8 -59.4
EMUCA EMU NL - 3C Pd, 3C Unpd 2 -57.4 -23.1
FPL Fremont Petroleum 0.3 -57.1
AFR African Energy Res 1.8 -55.0 -18.2
FOD The Food Revolution 3.6 -55.0 -14.3
1ST 1St Group 3.7 -52.6 -2.6
CZL Cons Zinc 0.35 -52.0
AYI A1 Invest & Res 0.1 -50.0 -50.0
CLZ Classic Min 0.15 -50.0 -25.0
SXL Sthn Cross Media 226 -61.7 17.1
AVH Avita Therapeutics 528 -59.1 -10.8
SKT Sky Network 15.5 -57.9 -3.1
URW Unibailrodawestfield 498 -52.4 36.1
VGL Vista Group Int 165 -50.6 3.1
FAR FAR 1.1 -75.0
AHQ Allegiance Coal 5 -69.7 -16.7
DCG Decmil Group 66 -65.8 7.3
BCT Bluechiip 5.4 -65.2 -6.9
BRL Bathurst Res 3.9 -64.5
88E 88 Energy 0.8 -63.6
DCN Dacian Gold 35.25 -63.5 .7
AJL AJ Lucas Group 2.7 -60.9 -38.6
COI Comet Ridge 7.7 -59.5 11.6
GTK Gentrack Group 148.5 -58.9 10.8
ATC Altech Chem 3.9 -58.0 -7.1
DNK Danakali 28 -53.3 -22.2
LOM Lucapa Diamond 5.6 -53.3 3.7
MMI Metro Mining 6.3 -53.3 -3.1
EXL Elixinol Global 24 -50.8 29.7
AKM Aspire Mining 7.5 -50.0 5.6
FLT Flight Centre Travel 1621 -59.1 3.5
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The worst small caps

Here are the worst-performing shares in the small-cap space:

Southern Cross Media

Radio station owner Southern Cross Media (ASX:SXL) shares are down (as of December 14) over 60 per cent since the start of the year, amid a generally brutal year for broadcast media.

(Don’t be deceived if when perusing charts, you see a huge spike in the SXL share price in November — that was the result of a 10-for-1 stock consolidation.)

Chief executive Grant Blackley told the company’s annual general meeting October 30 that while the pandemic had had a severe impact on Southern Cross’s business, it “has also accelerated consumer trends that will play to our strengths and strategy as economy activity progressively recovers.”

Consumption of audio is up strongly and is becoming more accessible than ever before through internet-enabled devices, Blackley said. Southern Cross is poised to capitalise with its talent-led approach to podcasting, music curation and creating compelling content.


Avita Therapeutics

After a stellar 2019 it’s all come undone for Avita Therapeutics (ASX:AVH), whose shares have gone from less than $2 in 2018 to more than $15 in February 2020 to under $6 lately.

The burn care company’s shares took a tumble at the start of the pandemic, and they have never really come back.

Avita switched its primary listing to the NASDAQ in April and will be kicked out of the ASX200 as part of its quarterly rebalancing. Kogan.com (ASX:KGN) and Reece (ASX:REH) are being added.


For the three months to September 30, Avita announced it had made $US5.1 million ($6.8 million), up from $US3.3 million ($4.4 million) a year ago, but its operating loss grew from $US3.7 million ($4.9 million) to $US10.2 million ($13.5 million).



Sky Network

Kiwi satellite broadcasting company Sky Network (ASX:SKT) is the third-worst ASX small-cap performer, its shares down 57.9 per cent from the start of the year. (It has no connection with London-based Sky Group, the European pay-TV broadcaster).

Sky is another company whose shares crashed at the start of the pandemic and haven’t really recovered.

The company this month promoted chief operating officer Sophie Moloney to the role of CEO – its first woman to hold the position – to replace Martin Stewart, who is returning home to Europe.

Sky is forecasting a net profit this financial year of $NZ20 million to $NZ30 million ($18.8 million to $28.2 million), on revenue of $NZ680 million to $NZ710 million ($639 million to $667 million). The company says it is exercising careful cost-control measures and is pleased with the growth of its Neon streaming service.


Vista Group  

Shares in Kiwi film industry technology company Vista Group (ASX:VGL) were trading at $1.65 on December 14, down 50.6 per cent from the start of the year.

Visata Group is the parent company to eight businesses, including a cinema management platform, the Flicks chain of moviegoing websites,  and a film distribution software firm.

The company announced October 21 that while it was hard to predict when the film industry would “return to normal,” the rebound in moviegoing in countries where cinemas had reopened supported its belief that the industry would bounce back in 2021.

“We remain confident in the future of the film industry and we are pleased to see areas of strong and consistent recovery, whilst acknowledging that there is a way to go,” group CEO Kimbal Riley said.