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. In this article, we’ll look at how useful this year’s statutory profit is, when analysing Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX).
We like the fact that Becton Dickinson made a profit of US$760.0m on its revenue of US$17.4b, in the last year. The chart below shows how it has grown revenue over the last three years, but that profit has declined.
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 Becton Dickinson’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.
How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?
To properly understand Becton Dickinson’s profit results, we need to consider the US$1.5b expense attributed to unusual items. While deductions due to unusual items are disappointing in the first instance, there is a silver lining. 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. Becton Dickinson took a rather significant hit from unusual items in the year to December 2019. As a result, we can surmise that the unusual items made its statutory profit significantly weaker than it would otherwise be.
Our Take On Becton Dickinson’s Profit Performance
As we mentioned previously, the Becton Dickinson’s profit was hampered by unusual items in the last year. Based on this observation, we consider it possible that Becton Dickinson’s statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! Unfortunately, though, its earnings per share actually fell back over 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. So if you’d like to dive deeper into this stock, it’s crucial to consider any risks it’s facing. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Becton Dickinson (1 is concerning!) and we strongly recommend you look at these before investing.
Today we’ve zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Becton Dickinson’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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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