We’re Not So Sure You Should Rely on St. Joe’s (NYSE:JOE) Statutory Earnings

It might be old fashioned, but we really like to invest in companies that make a profit, each and every year. However, sometimes companies receive a one-off boost (or reduction) to their profit, and it’s not always clear whether statutory profits are a good guide, going forward. In this article, we’ll look at how useful this year’s statutory profit is, when analysing St. Joe (NYSE:JOE).

It’s good to see that over the last twelve months St. Joe made a profit of US$18.0m on revenue of US$100.7m. One positive is that it has grown both its profit and its revenue, over the last few years, though not in the last twelve months.

Check out our latest analysis for St. Joe

NYSE:JOE Income Statement, December 15th 2019
NYSE:JOE Income Statement, December 15th 2019

Of course, it is only sensible to look beyond the statutory profits and question how well those numbers represent the sustainable earnings power of the business. This article will focus on the impact unusual items have had on St. Joe’s statutory earnings. Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of St. Joe.

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

For anyone who wants to understand St. Joe’s profit beyond the statutory numbers, it’s important to note that during the last twelve months statutory profit gained from US$5.7m worth of unusual items. 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. Which is hardly suprising, given the name. We can see that St. Joe’s positive unusual items were quite significant relative to its profit in the year to September 2019. As a result, we can surmise that the unusual items are making its statutory profit significantly stronger than it would otherwise be.

Our Take On St. Joe’s Profit Performance

As we discussed above, we think the significant positive unusual item makes St. Joe’s earnings a poor guide to its underlying profitability. As a result, we think it may well be the case that St. Joe’s underlying earnings power is lower than its statutory profit. But on the bright side, its earnings per share have grown at an extremely impressive rate 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. Just as investors must consider earnings, it is also important to take into account the strength of a company’s balance sheet. If you’re interestedwe have a graphic representation of St. Joe’s balance sheet.

Today we’ve zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of St. Joe’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. 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 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.