It might be old fashioned, but we really like to invest in companies that make a profit, each and every year. That said, the current statutory profit is not always a good guide to a company’s underlying profitability. In this article, we’ll look at how useful this year’s statutory profit is, when analysing Check Point Software Technologies (NASDAQ:CHKP).
It’s good to see that over the last twelve months Check Point Software Technologies made a profit of US$824.5m on revenue of US$2.01b. One positive is that it has grown both its profit and its revenue, over the last few years.
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. So today we’ll look at what Check Point Software Technologies’s cashflow tells us about the quality of its 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 Check Point Software Technologies’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. To get the accrual ratio we first subtract FCF from profit for a period, and then divide that number by the average operating assets for the period. This ratio tells us how much of a company’s profit is not backed by free cashflow.
That means a negative accrual ratio is a good thing, because it shows that the company is bringing in more free cash flow than its profit would suggest. That is not intended to imply we should worry about a positive accrual ratio, but it’s worth noting where the accrual ratio is rather high. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, “firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future”.
For the year to March 2020, Check Point Software Technologies had an accrual ratio of -0.13. That implies it has good cash conversion, and implies that its free cash flow solidly exceeded its profit last year. To wit, it produced free cash flow of US$1.1b during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of US$824.5m. Check Point Software Technologies’s year-on-year free cash flow was as flat as two-day-old fizzy drink.
Our Take On Check Point Software Technologies’s Profit Performance
As we discussed above, Check Point Software Technologies has perfectly satisfactory free cash flow relative to profit. Because of this, we think Check Point Software Technologies’s earnings potential is at least as good as it seems, and maybe even better! And the EPS is up 26% annually, over the last three years. Of course, we’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to analysing its earnings; one could also consider margins, forecast growth, and return on investment, among other factors. While it’s really important to consider how well a company’s statutory earnings represent its true earnings power, it’s also worth taking a look at what analysts are forecasting for the future. So feel free to check out our free graph representing analyst forecasts.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Check Point Software Technologies’s profit. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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.
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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. Thank you for reading.