Should You Use USU Software’s (ETR:OSP2) Statutory Earnings To Analyse It?

Broadly speaking, profitable businesses are less risky than unprofitable ones. 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. In this article, we’ll look at how useful this year’s statutory profit is, when analysing USU Software (ETR:OSP2).

While USU Software was able to generate revenue of €95.6m in the last twelve months, we think its profit result of €5.27m was more important. As you can see in the chart below, its profit has declined over the last three years, even though its revenue has increased.

Check out our latest analysis for USU Software

XTRA:OSP2 Income Statement April 7th 2020
XTRA:OSP2 Income Statement April 7th 2020

Importantly, statutory profits are not always the best tool for understanding a company’s true earnings power, so it’s well worth examining profits in a little more detail. Therefore, we think it makes sense to note and understand the impact that a tax benefit has had on USU Software’s statutory profit in the last twelve months. 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.

An Unusual Tax Situation

We can see that USU Software received a tax benefit of €1.2m. It’s always a bit noteworthy when a company is paid by the tax man, rather than paying the tax man. Of course, prima facie it’s great to receive a tax benefit. However, the devil in the detail is that these kind of benefits only impact in the year they are booked, and are often one-off in nature. 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 USU Software’s Profit Performance

USU Software reported that it received a tax benefit, rather than paid tax, in its last report. As a result we don’t think its profit result, which includes that tax-boost, is a good guide to its sustainable profit levels. Therefore, it seems possible to us that USU Software’s true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. The silver lining is that its EPS growth over the last year has been really wonderful, even if it’s not a perfect measure. At the end of the day, it’s essential to consider more than just the factors above, if you want to understand the company properly. So while earnings quality is important, it’s equally important to consider the risks facing USU Software at this point in time. While conducting our analysis, we found that USU Software has 1 warning sign and it would be unwise to ignore this.

Today we’ve zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of USU Software’s profit. 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. 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.