Are Lonza Group’s (VTX:LONN) Statutory Earnings A Good Guide To Its Underlying Profitability?

Statistically speaking, it is less risky to invest in profitable companies than in unprofitable ones. However, sometimes companies receive a one-off boost (or reduction) to their profit, and it’s not always clear whether statutory profits are a good guide, going forward. Today we’ll focus on whether this year’s statutory profits are a good guide to understanding Lonza Group (VTX:LONN).

It’s good to see that over the last twelve months Lonza Group made a profit of CHF658.0m on revenue of CHF5.72b. In the chart below, you can see that its profit and revenue have both grown over the last three years, although its profit has slipped in the last twelve months.

View our latest analysis for Lonza Group

SWX:LONN Income Statement, January 8th 2020
SWX:LONN Income Statement, January 8th 2020

Not all profits are equal, and we can learn more about the nature of a company’s past profitability by diving deeper into the financial statements. This article will discuss how unusual items have impacted Lonza Group’s most recent profit results. That might leave you wondering what analysts are forecasting in terms of future profitability. Luckily, you can click here to see an interactive graph depicting future profitability, based on their estimates.

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

To properly understand Lonza Group’s profit results, we need to consider the CHF143m expense attributed to unusual items. It’s never great to see unusual items costing the company profits, but on the upside, things might improve sooner rather than later. We looked at thousands of listed companies and found that unusual items are very often one-off in nature. And that’s hardly a surprise given these line items are considered unusual. If Lonza Group doesn’t see those unusual expenses repeat, then all else being equal we’d expect its profit to increase over the coming year.

Our Take On Lonza Group’s Profit Performance

Unusual items (expenses) detracted from Lonza Group’s earnings over the last year, but we might see an improvement next year. Based on this observation, we consider it likely that Lonza Group’s statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! And on top of that, its earnings per share have grown at 29% per year over the last three years. Of course, we’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to analysing its earnings; one could also consider margins, forecast growth, and return on investment, among other factors. Obviously, we love to consider the historical data to inform our opinion of a company. But it can be really valuable to consider what other analysts are forecasting. Luckily, you can check out what analysts are forecsting by clicking here.

Today we’ve zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Lonza Group’s profit. But there are plenty of other ways to inform your opinion of a company. Some people consider a high return on equity to be a good sign of a quality business. While it might take a little research on your behalf, you may find this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying to be useful.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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