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. In this article, we'll look at how useful this year's statutory profit is, when analysing Elders (ASX:ELD).
It's good to see that over the last twelve months Elders made a profit of AU$122.9m on revenue of AU$2.09b. In the chart below, you can see that its profit and revenue have both grown over the last three years.
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. Therefore, we think it makes sense to note and understand the impact that a tax benefit has had on Elders' statutory profit in the last twelve months. 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.
An Unusual Tax Situation
We can see that Elders received a tax benefit of AU$21m. This is meaningful because companies usually pay tax rather than receive tax benefits. Of course, prima facie it's great to receive a tax benefit. However, the devil in the detail is that these kind of benefits only impact in the year they are booked, and are often one-off in nature. In the likely event the tax benefit is not repeated, we'd expect to see its statutory profit levels drop, at least in the absence of strong growth.
Our Take On Elders' Profit Performance
Elders reported that it received a tax benefit, rather than paid tax, in its last report. Given that sort of benefit is not recurring, a focus on the statutory profit might make the company seem better than it really is. Therefore, it seems possible to us that Elders' true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. The good news is that, its earnings per share increased by 27% in the last year. The goal of this article has been to assess how well we can rely on the statutory earnings to reflect the company's potential, but there is plenty more to consider. So while earnings quality is important, it's equally important to consider the risks facing Elders at this point in time. While conducting our analysis, we found that Elders has 2 warning signs and it would be unwise to ignore them.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Elders' 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.
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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.
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