Does FirstService’s (TSE:FSV) Statutory Profit Adequately Reflect Its Underlying Profit?

Statistically speaking, it is less risky to invest in profitable companies than in unprofitable ones. 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 FirstService (TSE:FSV).

It’s good to see that over the last twelve months FirstService made a profit of US$57.5m on revenue of US$2.60b.

See our latest analysis for FirstService

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TSX:FSV Earnings and Revenue History August 12th 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. In this article we will consider how FirstService’s decision to issue new shares in the company has impacted returns to shareholders. 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.

In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. In fact, FirstService increased the number of shares on issue by 11% over the last twelve months by issuing new shares. Therefore, each share now receives a smaller portion of profit. To celebrate net income while ignoring dilution is like rejoicing because you have a single slice of a larger pizza, but ignoring the fact that the pizza is now cut into many more slices. Check out FirstService’s historical EPS growth by clicking on this link.

A Look At The Impact Of FirstService’s Dilution on Its Earnings Per Share (EPS).

As it happens, we don’t know how much the company made or lost three years ago, because we don’t have the data. Zooming in to the last year, we still can’t talk about growth rates coherently, since it made a loss last year. But mathematics aside, it is always good to see when a formerly unprofitable business come good (though we accept profit would have been higher if dilution had not been required). So you can see that the dilution has had a bit of an impact on shareholders. Therefore, the dilution is having a noteworthy influence on shareholder returns. And so, you can see quite clearly that dilution is influencing shareholder earnings.

If FirstService’s EPS can grow over time then that drastically improves the chances of the share price moving in the same direction. But on the other hand, we’d be far less excited to learn profit (but not EPS) was improving. For that reason, you could say that EPS is more important that net income in the long run, assuming the goal is to assess whether a company’s share price might grow.

Our Take On FirstService’s Profit Performance

Over the last year FirstService issued new shares and so, there’s a noteworthy divergence between EPS and net income growth. Because of this, we think that it may be that FirstService’s statutory profits are better than its underlying earnings power. On the bright side, the company showed enough improvement to book a profit this year, after losing money 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. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it’s worth noting the risks involved. While conducting our analysis, we found that FirstService has 4 warning signs and it would be unwise to ignore them.

Today we’ve zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of FirstService’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. 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.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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