Andean Precious Metals Corp.'s (CVE:APM) recent earnings report didn't offer any surprises, with the shares unchanged over the last week. We did some digging, and we think that investors are missing some encouraging factors in the underlying numbers.
A Closer Look At Andean Precious Metals' 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. The accrual ratio subtracts the FCF from the profit for a given period, and divides the result by the average operating assets of the company over that time. This ratio tells us how much of a company's profit is not backed by free cashflow.
As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. While having an accrual ratio above zero is of little concern, we do think it's worth noting when a company has a relatively high accrual ratio. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".
For the year to September 2021, Andean Precious Metals had an accrual ratio of -0.20. Therefore, its statutory earnings were very significantly less than its free cashflow. Indeed, in the last twelve months it reported free cash flow of US$49m, well over the US$43.2m it reported in profit. Andean Precious Metals shareholders are no doubt pleased that free cash flow improved over the last twelve months. However, we can see that a recent tax benefit, along with unusual items, have impacted its statutory profit, and therefore its accrual ratio.
Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Andean Precious Metals.
How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?
On top of the noteworthy accrual ratio and the spike in non-operating revenue, we can also see that Andean Precious Metals suffered from unusual items, which reduced profit by US$6.5m in the last twelve months. It's never great to see unusual items costing the company profits, but on the upside, things might improve sooner rather than later. 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. If Andean Precious Metals doesn't see those unusual expenses repeat, then all else being equal we'd expect its profit to increase over the coming year.
An Unusual Tax Situation
Moving on from the unusual items and the non-operating revenue, we note that Andean Precious Metals profited from a tax benefit which contributedUS$5.6m to profit. This is of course a bit out of the ordinary, given it is more common for companies to be paying tax than receiving tax benefits! Of course, prima facie it's great to receive a tax benefit. However, our data indicates that tax benefits can temporarily boost statutory profit in the year it is booked, but subsequently profit may fall back. 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 Andean Precious Metals' Profit Performance
Summing up, Andean Precious Metals' accrual ratio and its unusual items suggest that its statutory earnings were temporarily depressed, while its tax benefit is having the opposite effect. Looking at all these factors, we'd say that Andean Precious Metals' underlying earnings power is at least as good as the statutory numbers would make it seem. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. At Simply Wall St, we found 2 warning signs for Andean Precious Metals and we think they deserve your attention.
After our examination into the nature of Andean Precious Metals' profit, we've come away optimistic for the company. 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.