Are National Presto Industries’s (NYSE:NPK) Statutory Earnings A Good Reflection Of Its Earnings Potential?

Broadly speaking, profitable businesses are less risky than unprofitable ones. That said, the current statutory profit is not always a good guide to a company’s underlying profitability. This article will consider whether National Presto Industries‘s (NYSE:NPK) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.

It’s good to see that over the last twelve months National Presto Industries made a profit of US$40.7m on revenue of US$299.2m. One positive is that it has grown both its profit and its revenue, over the last few years, though not in the last twelve months.

Check out our latest analysis for National Presto Industries

NYSE:NPK Income Statement, February 10th 2020
NYSE:NPK Income Statement, February 10th 2020

Of course, it is only sensible to look beyond the statutory profits and question how well those numbers represent the sustainable earnings power of the business. As a result, we think it’s well worth considering what National Presto Industries’s cashflow (when compared to its earnings) can tell us about the nature of its statutory profit. Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of National Presto Industries.

A Closer Look At National Presto Industries’s Earnings

Many investors haven’t heard of the accrual ratio from cashflow, but it is actually a useful measure of how well a company’s profit is backed up by free cash flow (FCF) during a given period. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company’s average operating assets over that period. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the ‘non-FCF profit ratio’.

As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. That is not intended to imply we should worry about a positive accrual ratio, but it’s worth noting where the accrual ratio is rather high. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.

For the year to September 2019, National Presto Industries had an accrual ratio of 0.23. Therefore, we know that it’s free cashflow was significantly lower than its statutory profit, which is hardly a good thing. Over the last year it actually had negative free cash flow of US$3.2m, in contrast to the aforementioned profit of US$40.7m. Unfortunately, we don’t have data on National Presto Industries’s free cash flow for the prior year; that’s not necessarily a bad thing, though we do generally prefer to be able to see a bit of a company’s history. The good news for shareholders is that National Presto Industries’s accrual ratio was much better last year, so this year’s poor reading might simply be a case of a short term mismatch between profit and FCF. Shareholders should look for improved cashflow relative to profit in the current year, if that is indeed the case.

Our Take On National Presto Industries’s Profit Performance

National Presto Industries didn’t convert much of its profit to free cahs flow in the last year, which some investors may consider rather suboptimal. Therefore, it seems possible to us that National Presto Industries’s true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. In further bad news, its earnings per share decreased in the last year. At the end of the day, it’s essential to consider more than just the factors above, if you want to understand the company properly. While earnings are important, another area to consider is the balance sheet. If you want to,you can see our take on National Presto Industries’s balance sheet by clicking here.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of National Presto Industries’s profit. But there are plenty of other ways to inform your opinion of a company. For example, many people consider a high return on equity as an indication of favorable business economics, while others like to ‘follow the money’ and search out stocks that insiders are buying. 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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