Gear4music (Holdings) plc (LON:G4M) announced strong profits, but the stock was stagnant. Our analysis suggests that shareholders have noticed something concerning in the numbers.
A Closer Look At Gear4music (Holdings)'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). 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.
As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. 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".
Over the twelve months to September 2021, Gear4music (Holdings) recorded an accrual ratio of 0.32. Therefore, we know that it's free cashflow was significantly lower than its statutory profit, raising questions about how useful that profit figure really is. Even though it reported a profit of UK£8.77m, a look at free cash flow indicates it actually burnt through UK£4.1m in the last year. It's worth noting that Gear4music (Holdings) generated positive FCF of UK£6.7m a year ago, so at least they've done it in the past.
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 Gear4music (Holdings)'s Profit Performance
As we discussed above, we think Gear4music (Holdings)'s earnings were not supported by free cash flow, which might concern some investors. As a result, we think it may well be the case that Gear4music (Holdings)'s underlying earnings power is lower than its statutory profit. But the good news is that its EPS growth over the last three years has been very impressive. Of course, we've only just scratched the surface when it comes to analysing its earnings; one could also consider margins, forecast growth, and return on investment, among other factors. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Gear4music (Holdings) you should be mindful of and 1 of them is a bit unpleasant.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Gear4music (Holdings)'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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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