Here's Why Firan Technology Group's (TSE:FTG) Statutory Earnings Are Arguably Too Conservative

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 12, 2021
TSX:FTG

Many investors consider it preferable to invest in profitable companies over unprofitable ones, because profitability suggests a business is sustainable. Having said that, sometimes statutory profit levels are not a good guide to ongoing profitability, because some short term one-off factor has impacted profit levels. Today we'll focus on whether this year's statutory profits are a good guide to understanding Firan Technology Group (TSE:FTG).

It's good to see that over the last twelve months Firan Technology Group made a profit of CA$1.39m on revenue of CA$102.4m. One positive is that it has grown both its profit and its revenue, over the last few years, though not in the last twelve months.

See our latest analysis for Firan Technology Group

earnings-and-revenue-history
TSX:FTG Earnings and Revenue History February 12th 2021

Of course, it is only sensible to look beyond the statutory profits and question how well those numbers represent the sustainable earnings power of the business. So this article aims to better understand Firan Technology Group's underlying earnings power by taking a look at how dilution, and unusual items are impacting it, and considering how well those paper profits are being converted into cash flow. 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.

A Closer Look At Firan Technology Group'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. This ratio tells us how much of a company's profit is not backed by free cashflow.

Therefore, it's actually considered a good thing when a company has a negative accrual ratio, but a bad thing if its accrual ratio is positive. That is not intended to imply we should worry about a positive accrual ratio, but it's worth noting where the accrual ratio is rather high. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".

Firan Technology Group has an accrual ratio of -0.26 for the year to November 2020. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. To wit, it produced free cash flow of CA$13m during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of CA$1.39m. Firan Technology Group's free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see. However, that's not the end of the story. We must also consider the impact of unusual items on statutory profit (and thus the accrual ratio), as well as note the ramifications of the company issuing new shares.

To understand the value of a company's earnings growth, it is imperative to consider any dilution of shareholders' interests. As it happens, Firan Technology Group issued 7.8% more new shares over the last year. As a result, its net income is now split between a greater number of shares. To celebrate net income while ignoring dilution is like rejoicing because you have a single slice of a larger pizza, but ignoring the fact that the pizza is now cut into many more slices. You can see a chart of Firan Technology Group's EPS by clicking here.

A Look At The Impact Of Firan Technology Group's Dilution on Its Earnings Per Share (EPS).

Firan Technology Group has improved its profit over the last three years, with an annualized gain of 11% in that time. Net income was down 77% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately for shareholders, though, the earnings per share result was even worse, declining 77%. 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 Firan Technology Group'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.

How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?

Firan Technology Group's profit was reduced by unusual items worth CA$1.1m in the last twelve months, and this helped it produce high cash conversion, as reflected by its unusual items. This is what you'd expect to see where a company has a non-cash charge reducing paper profits. While deductions due to unusual items are disappointing in the first instance, there is a silver lining. 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 Firan Technology Group 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 Firan Technology Group's Profit Performance

In conclusion, both Firan Technology Group's accrual ratio and its unusual items suggest that its statutory earnings are probably reasonably conservative, but the dilution means that per-share performance is weaker than the statutory profit numbers imply. Based on these factors, we think Firan Technology Group's earnings potential is at least as good as it seems, and maybe even better! If you want to do dive deeper into Firan Technology Group, you'd also look into what risks it is currently facing. Our analysis shows 5 warning signs for Firan Technology Group (1 is significant!) and we strongly recommend you look at these before investing.

After our examination into the nature of Firan Technology Group's 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. 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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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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