The subdued stock price reaction suggests that Endeavour Mining Corporation's (TSE:EDV) strong earnings didn't offer any surprises. Investors are probably missing some underlying factors which are encouraging for the future of the company.
Zooming In On Endeavour Mining'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. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company's average operating assets over that 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. 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 2020, Endeavour Mining recorded an accrual ratio of -0.24. That implies it has very good cash conversion, and that its earnings in the last year actually significantly understate its free cash flow. To wit, it produced free cash flow of US$513m during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of US$94.0m. Endeavour Mining shareholders are no doubt pleased that free cash flow improved over the last twelve months. However, that's not the end of the story. We can look at how unusual items in the profit and loss statement impacted its accrual ratio, as well as explore how dilution is impacting shareholders negatively.
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.
In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. In fact, Endeavour Mining increased the number of shares on issue by 119% over the last twelve months by issuing new shares. That means its earnings are split among a greater number of shares. To talk about net income, without noticing earnings per share, is to be distracted by the big numbers while ignoring the smaller numbers that talk to per share value. You can see a chart of Endeavour Mining's EPS by clicking here.
A Look At The Impact Of Endeavour Mining's Dilution on Its Earnings Per Share (EPS).
As it happens, we don't know how much the company made or lost three years ago, because we don't have the data. Zooming in to the last year, we still can't talk about growth rates coherently, since it made a loss last year. What we do know is that while it's great to see a profit over the last twelve months, that profit would have been better, on a per share basis, if the company hadn't needed to issue shares. So you can see that the dilution has had a fairly significant impact on shareholders.
In the long term, if Endeavour Mining's earnings per share can increase, then the share price should too. However, if its profit increases while its earnings per share stay flat (or even fall) then shareholders might not see much benefit. For the ordinary retail shareholder, EPS is a great measure to check your hypothetical "share" of the company's profit.
How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?
Endeavour Mining's profit was reduced by unusual items worth US$40m in the last twelve months, and this helped it produce high cash conversion, as reflected by its unusual items. In a scenario where those unusual items included non-cash charges, we'd expect to see a strong accrual ratio, which is exactly what has happened in this case. While deductions due to unusual items are disappointing in the first instance, there is a silver lining. We looked at thousands of listed companies and found that unusual items are very often one-off in nature. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. If Endeavour Mining doesn't see those unusual expenses repeat, then all else being equal we'd expect its profit to increase over the coming year.
Our Take On Endeavour Mining's Profit Performance
Summing up, Endeavour Mining's accrual ratio and its unusual items suggest that its statutory earnings were temporarily depressed (and could bounce back), while the dilution is a negative for shareholders. Looking at all these factors, we'd say that Endeavour Mining's underlying earnings power is at least as good as the statutory numbers would make it seem. In light of this, if you'd like to do more analysis on the company, it's vital to be informed of the risks involved. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for Endeavour Mining (of which 1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) you should know about.
Our examination of Endeavour Mining has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. And it has passed with flying colours. But there are plenty of other ways to inform your opinion of a company. 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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