Should You Rely On Endava’s (NYSE:DAVA) Earnings Growth?

It might be old fashioned, but we really like to invest in companies that make a profit, each and every year. 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 Endava (NYSE:DAVA).

It’s good to see that over the last twelve months Endava made a profit of UK£23.5m on revenue of UK£337.1m. In the chart below, you can see that its profit and revenue have both grown over the last three years.

View our latest analysis for Endava

earnings-and-revenue-history
NYSE:DAVA Earnings and Revenue History August 3rd 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. Therefore, today we’ll take a look at Endava’s cashflow, share issues and unusual items with a view to better understanding the nature of its statutory earnings. 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.

Zooming In On Endava’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. The accrual ratio subtracts the FCF from the profit for a given period, and divides the result by the average operating assets of the company over that time. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the ‘non-FCF profit ratio’.

Therefore, it’s actually considered a good thing when a company has a negative accrual ratio, but a bad thing if its accrual ratio is positive. While having an accrual ratio above zero is of little concern, we do think it’s worth noting when a company has a relatively high accrual ratio. 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 March 2020, Endava had an accrual ratio of -0.14. That implies it has very good cash conversion, and that its earnings in the last year actually significantly understate its free cash flow. In fact, it had free cash flow of UK£39m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of UK£23.5m. Endava’s free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see. Having said that, there is more to consider. We can look at how unusual items in the profit and loss statement impacted its accrual ratio, as well as explore how dilution is impacting shareholders negatively.

One essential aspect of assessing earnings quality is to look at how much a company is diluting shareholders. In fact, Endava increased the number of shares on issue by 6.0% over the last twelve months by issuing new shares. As a result, its net income is now split between a greater number of shares. Per share metrics like EPS help us understand how much actual shareholders are benefitting from the company’s profits, while the net income level gives us a better view of the company’s absolute size. Check out Endava’s historical EPS growth by clicking on this link.

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

Endava has improved its profit over the last three years, with an annualized gain of 40% in that time. But EPS was only up 19% per year, in the exact same period. And over the last 12 months, the company grew its profit by 14%. But in comparison, EPS only increased by 2.7% over the same period. 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.

In the long term, earnings per share growth should beget share price growth. So Endava shareholders will want to see that EPS figure continue to increase. 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.

How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?

Endava’s profit was reduced by unusual items worth UK£3.6m in the last twelve months, and this helped it produce high cash conversion, as reflected by its unusual items. In a scenario where those unusual items included non-cash charges, we’d expect to see a strong accrual ratio, which is exactly what has happened in this case. 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, after all, that’s exactly what the accounting terminology implies. Assuming those unusual expenses don’t come up again, we’d therefore expect Endava to produce a higher profit next year, all else being equal.

Our Take On Endava’s Profit Performance

In conclusion, both Endava’s accrual ratio and its unusual items suggest that its statutory earnings are probably reasonably conservative, but the dilution means that per-share performance is weaker than the statutory profit numbers imply. Looking at all these factors, we’d say that Endava’s underlying earnings power is at least as good as the statutory numbers would make it seem. With this in mind, we wouldn’t consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Endava you should be aware of.

Our examination of Endava has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. And it has passed with flying colours. 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.

Promoted
If you’re looking to trade Endava, open an account with the lowest-cost* platform trusted by professionals, Interactive Brokers. Their clients from over 200 countries and territories trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account.


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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020


Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.