Are PrairieSky Royalty’s (TSE:PSK) Statutory Earnings A Good Guide To Its Underlying Profitability?

As a general rule, we think profitable companies are less risky than companies that lose money. Having said that, sometimes statutory profit levels are not a good guide to ongoing profitability, because some short term one-off factor has impacted profit levels. Today we’ll focus on whether this year’s statutory profits are a good guide to understanding PrairieSky Royalty (TSE:PSK).

We like the fact that PrairieSky Royalty made a profit of CA$93.1m on its revenue of CA$225.3m, in the last year. In the chart below, you can see that its profit and revenue have both grown over the last three years, albeit not in the last year.

View our latest analysis for PrairieSky Royalty

TSX:PSK Income Statement, February 6th 2020
TSX:PSK Income Statement, February 6th 2020

Of course, when it comes to statutory profit, the devil is often in the detail, and we can get a better sense for a company by diving deeper into the financial statements. This article, will discuss how a tax benefit impacted PrairieSky Royalty’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.

An Unusual Tax Situation

We can see that PrairieSky Royalty received a tax benefit of CA$7.4m. It’s always a bit noteworthy when a company is paid by the tax man, rather than paying the tax man. The receipt of a tax benefit is obviously a good thing, on its own. However, the devil in the detail is that these kind of benefits only impact in the year they are booked, and are often one-off in nature. In the likely event the tax benefit is not repeated, we’d expect to see its statutory profit levels drop, at least in the absence of strong growth. So while we think it’s great to receive a tax benefit, it does tend to imply an increased risk that the statutory profit overstates the sustainable earnings power of the business.

Our Take On PrairieSky Royalty’s Profit Performance

PrairieSky Royalty reported that it received a tax benefit, rather than paid tax, in its last report. Given that sort of benefit is not recurring, a focus on the statutory profit might make the company seem better than it really is. Therefore, it seems possible to us that PrairieSky Royalty’s true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. But the good news is that its EPS growth over the last three years has been very impressive. 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. 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. At Simply Wall St, we have analyst estimates which you can view by clicking here.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of PrairieSky Royalty’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. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

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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