Many investors consider it preferable to invest in profitable companies over unprofitable ones, because profitability suggests a business is sustainable. 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 Eldorado Gold (TSE:ELD).
It's good to see that over the last twelve months Eldorado Gold made a profit of US$172.9m on revenue of US$940.0m. The good news is that the company managed to grow its revenue over the last three years, and also move from loss-making to profitable.
Of course, when it comes to statutory profit, the devil is often in the detail, and we can get a better sense for a company by diving deeper into the financial statements. Therefore, today we will consider the nature of Eldorado Gold's statutory earnings with reference to its dilution of shareholders and the impact of unusual items. 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.
To understand the value of a company's earnings growth, it is imperative to consider any dilution of shareholders' interests. In fact, Eldorado Gold increased the number of shares on issue by 10.0% over the last twelve months by issuing new shares. That means its earnings are split among a greater number of shares. Per share metrics like EPS help us understand how much actual shareholders are benefitting from the company's profits, while the net income level gives us a better view of the company's absolute size. You can see a chart of Eldorado Gold's EPS by clicking here.
A Look At The Impact Of Eldorado Gold's Dilution on Its Earnings Per Share (EPS).
Three years ago, Eldorado Gold lost money. 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 bit of an impact on shareholders. Therefore, the dilution is having a noteworthy influence on shareholder returns. And so, you can see quite clearly that dilution is influencing shareholder earnings.
If Eldorado Gold's EPS can grow over time then that drastically improves the chances of the share price moving in the same direction. But on the other hand, we'd be far less excited to learn profit (but not EPS) was improving. For the ordinary retail shareholder, EPS is a great measure to check your hypothetical "share" of the company's profit.
The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit
Alongside that dilution, it's also important to note that Eldorado Gold's profit was boosted by unusual items worth US$68m in the last twelve months. While we like to see profit increases, we tend to be a little more cautious when unusual items have made a big contribution. When we analysed the vast majority of listed companies worldwide, we found that significant unusual items are often not repeated. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. Eldorado Gold had a rather significant contribution from unusual items relative to its profit to September 2020. All else being equal, this would likely have the effect of making the statutory profit a poor guide to underlying earnings power.
Our Take On Eldorado Gold's Profit Performance
In its last report Eldorado Gold benefitted from unusual items which boosted its profit, which could make the profit seem better than it really is on a sustainable basis. And furthermore, it went and issued plenty of new shares, ensuring that each shareholder (who did not tip more money in) now owns a smaller proportion of the company. Considering all this we'd argue Eldorado Gold's profits probably give an overly generous impression of its sustainable level of profitability. With this in mind, we wouldn't consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. You'd be interested to know, that we found 2 warning signs for Eldorado Gold and you'll want to know about these bad boys.
Our examination of Eldorado Gold has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. And, on that basis, we are somewhat skeptical. 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. 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.
If you decide to trade Eldorado Gold, use the lowest-cost* platform that is rated #1 Overall by Barron’s, Interactive Brokers. Trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds on 135 markets, all from a single integrated account.
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.