Stock Analysis

Should You Rely On HiTech Group Australia's (ASX:HIT) Earnings Growth?

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ASX:HIT
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Broadly speaking, profitable businesses are less risky than unprofitable ones. 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. Today we'll focus on whether this year's statutory profits are a good guide to understanding HiTech Group Australia (ASX:HIT).

It's good to see that over the last twelve months HiTech Group Australia made a profit of AU$3.08m on revenue of AU$32.0m. One positive is that it has grown both its profit and its revenue, over the last few years.

Check out our latest analysis for HiTech Group Australia

earnings-and-revenue-history
ASX:HIT Earnings and Revenue History July 17th 2020

Importantly, statutory profits are not always the best tool for understanding a company's true earnings power, so it's well worth examining profits in a little more detail. Today, we'll discuss HiTech Group Australia's free cashflow relative to its earnings, and consider what that tells us about the company. Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of HiTech Group Australia.

Examining Cashflow Against HiTech Group Australia's Earnings

One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company's average operating assets over that 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. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.

Over the twelve months to December 2019, HiTech Group Australia recorded an accrual ratio of -0.51. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. To wit, it produced free cash flow of AU$3.4m during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of AU$3.08m. HiTech Group Australia's free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see.

Our Take On HiTech Group Australia's Profit Performance

As we discussed above, HiTech Group Australia's accrual ratio indicates strong conversion of profit to free cash flow, which is a positive for the company. Based on this observation, we consider it possible that HiTech Group Australia's statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! And the EPS is up 11% over the last twelve months. 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. If you'd like to know more about HiTech Group Australia as a business, it's important to be aware of any risks it's facing. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs that you should run your eye over to get a better picture of HiTech Group Australia.

Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of HiTech Group Australia'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.

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