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. This article will consider whether NWF Group's (LON:NWF) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.
We like the fact that NWF Group made a profit of UK£8.90m on its revenue of UK£687.5m, in the last year. Happily, it has grown both its profit and revenue over the last three years, as you can see in the chart below.
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. Today, we'll discuss NWF Group's free cashflow relative to its earnings, and consider what that tells us about the company. 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 NWF Group's 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. 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. The ratio shows us how much a company's profit exceeds its FCF.
As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. While it's not a problem to have a positive accrual ratio, indicating a certain level of non-cash profits, a high accrual ratio is arguably a bad thing, because it indicates paper profits are not matched by cash flow. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.
For the year to May 2020, NWF Group had an accrual ratio of -0.13. That implies it has good cash conversion, and implies that its free cash flow solidly exceeded its profit last year. In fact, it had free cash flow of UK£16m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of UK£8.90m. NWF Group shareholders are no doubt pleased that free cash flow improved over the last twelve months.
Our Take On NWF Group's Profit Performance
NWF Group's accrual ratio is solid, and indicates strong free cash flow, as we discussed, above. Based on this observation, we consider it likely that NWF Group's statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! And the EPS is up 61% annually, over the last three years. 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. In light of this, if you'd like to do more analysis on the company, it's vital to be informed of the risks involved. You'd be interested to know, that we found 1 warning sign for NWF Group and you'll want to know about it.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of NWF Group's profit. 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.
If you’re looking to trade NWF Group, open an account with the lowest-cost* platform trusted by professionals, Interactive Brokers. Their clients from over 200 countries and territories trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account.
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email email@example.com.