We Think That There Are Issues Underlying FinTech Chain's (ASX:FTC) Earnings

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 07, 2021
ASX:FTC
Source: Shutterstock

FinTech Chain Limited (ASX:FTC) announced strong profits, but the stock was stagnant. Our analysis suggests that shareholders have noticed something concerning in the numbers.

See our latest analysis for FinTech Chain

earnings-and-revenue-history
ASX:FTC Earnings and Revenue History June 7th 2021

A Closer Look At FinTech Chain's Earnings

In high finance, the key ratio used to measure how well a company converts reported profits into free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio (from cashflow). 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. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the 'non-FCF profit ratio'.

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. While it's not a problem to have a positive accrual ratio, indicating a certain level of non-cash profits, a high accrual ratio is arguably a bad thing, because it indicates paper profits are not matched by cash flow. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.

FinTech Chain has an accrual ratio of 0.61 for the year to March 2021. Ergo, its free cash flow is significantly weaker than its profit. Statistically speaking, that's a real negative for future earnings. In fact, it had free cash flow of CN¥5.1m in the last year, which was a lot less than its statutory profit of CN¥10.5m. We note, however, that FinTech Chain grew its free cash flow over the last year. One positive for FinTech Chain shareholders is that it's accrual ratio was significantly better last year, providing reason to believe that it may return to stronger cash conversion in the future. As a result, some shareholders may be looking for stronger cash conversion in the current year.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of FinTech Chain.

Our Take On FinTech Chain's Profit Performance

As we have made quite clear, we're a bit worried that FinTech Chain didn't back up the last year's profit with free cashflow. For this reason, we think that FinTech Chain's statutory profits may be a bad guide to its underlying earnings power, and might give investors an overly positive impression of the company. But the happy news is that, while acknowledging we have to look beyond the statutory numbers, those numbers are still improving, with EPS growing at a very high rate over 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. With this in mind, we wouldn't consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. To help with this, we've discovered 5 warning signs (2 can't be ignored!) that you ought to be aware of before buying any shares in FinTech Chain.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of FinTech Chain'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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