Should You Use CF Industries Holdings’s (NYSE:CF) Statutory Earnings To Analyse It?

Statistically speaking, it is less risky to invest in profitable companies than in 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 CF Industries Holdings‘s (NYSE:CF) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.

While CF Industries Holdings was able to generate revenue of US$4.56b in the last twelve months, we think its profit result of US$471.0m was more important. The chart below shows that revenue has improved over the last three years, and, even better, the company has moved from unprofitable to profitable.

See our latest analysis for CF Industries Holdings

NYSE:CF Income Statement May 28th 2020
NYSE:CF Income Statement May 28th 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. This article will discuss how unusual items have impacted CF Industries Holdings’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.

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

Importantly, our data indicates that CF Industries Holdings’s profit received a boost of US$66m in unusual items, over the last year. While it’s always nice to have higher profit, a large contribution from unusual items sometimes dampens our enthusiasm. We ran the numbers on most publicly listed companies worldwide, and it’s very common for unusual items to be once-off in nature. And, after all, that’s exactly what the accounting terminology implies. Assuming those unusual items don’t show up again in the current year, we’d thus expect profit to be weaker next year (in the absence of business growth, that is).

Our Take On CF Industries Holdings’s Profit Performance

We’d posit that CF Industries Holdings’s statutory earnings aren’t a clean read on ongoing productivity, due to the large unusual item. Therefore, it seems possible to us that CF Industries Holdings’s true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. The good news is that, its earnings per share increased by 56% 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. If you want to do dive deeper into CF Industries Holdings, you’d also look into what risks it is currently facing. For example, CF Industries Holdings has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of CF Industries Holdings’s profit. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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.

Love or hate this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email 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. 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. Thank you for reading.