We Think Shareholders Should Be Aware Of Some Factors Beyond Grounds Real Estate Development's (ETR:AMMN) Profit

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 30, 2021
XTRA:AMMN
Source: Shutterstock

Even though The Grounds Real Estate Development AG (ETR:AMMN) posted strong earnings recently, the stock hasn't reacted in a large way. We decided to have a deeper look, and we believe that investors might be worried about several concerning factors that we found.

Check out our latest analysis for Grounds Real Estate Development

earnings-and-revenue-history
XTRA:AMMN Earnings and Revenue History July 1st 2021

Examining Cashflow Against Grounds Real Estate Development'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. 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.

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".

Grounds Real Estate Development has an accrual ratio of 0.60 for the year to December 2020. Statistically speaking, that's a real negative for future earnings. And indeed, during the period the company didn't produce any free cash flow whatsoever. Over the last year it actually had negative free cash flow of €24m, in contrast to the aforementioned profit of €3.60m. We saw that FCF was €13m a year ago though, so Grounds Real Estate Development has at least been able to generate positive FCF in the past. Having said that, there is more to consider. 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. One positive for Grounds Real Estate Development 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. Shareholders should look for improved cashflow relative to profit in the current year, if that is indeed the case.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Grounds Real Estate Development.

To understand the value of a company's earnings growth, it is imperative to consider any dilution of shareholders' interests. Grounds Real Estate Development expanded the number of shares on issue by 18% over the last year. Therefore, each share now receives a smaller portion of profit. 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 Grounds Real Estate Development's EPS by clicking here.

How Is Dilution Impacting Grounds Real Estate Development's Earnings Per Share? (EPS)

Grounds Real Estate Development has improved its profit over the last three years, with an annualized gain of 203% in that time. But EPS was only up 183% per year, in the exact same period. And at a glance the 42,898% gain in profit over the last year impresses. But in comparison, EPS only increased by 40,216% over the same period. Therefore, the dilution is having a noteworthy influence on shareholder returns.

In the long term, earnings per share growth should beget share price growth. So Grounds Real Estate Development shareholders will want to see that EPS figure continue to increase. 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?

Given the accrual ratio, it's not overly surprising that Grounds Real Estate Development's profit was boosted by unusual items worth €2.8m in the last twelve months. While it's always nice to have higher profit, a large contribution from unusual items sometimes dampens our enthusiasm. When we analysed the vast majority of listed companies worldwide, we found that significant unusual items are often not repeated. And that's as you'd expect, given these boosts are described as 'unusual'. Grounds Real Estate Development had a rather significant contribution from unusual items relative to its profit to December 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 Grounds Real Estate Development's Profit Performance

In conclusion, Grounds Real Estate Development's weak accrual ratio suggested its statutory earnings have been inflated by the unusual items. Meanwhile, the new shares issued mean that shareholders now own less of the company, unless they tipped in more cash themselves. For all the reasons mentioned above, we think that, at a glance, Grounds Real Estate Development's statutory profits could be considered to be low quality, because they are likely to give investors an overly positive impression of the company. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. Be aware that Grounds Real Estate Development is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis and 2 of those are significant...

In this article we've looked at a number of factors that can impair the utility of profit numbers, and we've come away cautious. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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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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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Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.