Crest Nicholson Holdings plc's (LON:CRST) 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.
Examining Cashflow Against Crest Nicholson Holdings' Earnings
As finance nerds would already know, the accrual ratio from cashflow is a key measure for assessing how well a company's free cash flow (FCF) matches its profit. 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. The ratio shows us how much a company's profit exceeds its FCF.
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. 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. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.
Over the twelve months to April 2021, Crest Nicholson Holdings recorded an accrual ratio of -0.21. Therefore, its statutory earnings were very significantly less than its free cashflow. In fact, it had free cash flow of UK£229m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of UK£58.8m. Crest Nicholson Holdings shareholders are no doubt pleased that free cash flow improved over 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.
Our Take On Crest Nicholson Holdings' Profit Performance
Happily for shareholders, Crest Nicholson Holdings produced plenty of free cash flow to back up its statutory profit numbers. Because of this, we think Crest Nicholson Holdings' underlying earnings potential is as good as, or possibly even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! And it's also positive that the company showed enough improvement to book a profit this year, after losing money last year. 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. If you'd like to know more about Crest Nicholson Holdings as a business, it's important to be aware of any risks it's facing. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign that you should run your eye over to get a better picture of Crest Nicholson Holdings.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Crest Nicholson Holdings' profit. 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. 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.
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