Many investors consider it preferable to invest in profitable companies over unprofitable ones, because profitability suggests a business is sustainable. 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 AVEVA Group's (LON:AVV) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.
While AVEVA Group was able to generate revenue of UK£774.5m in the last twelve months, we think its profit result of UK£31.5m was more important. While it managed to grow its revenue over the last three years, its profit has moved in the other direction, as you can see in the chart below.
Of course, when it comes to statutory profit, the devil is often in the detail, and we can get a better sense for a company by diving deeper into the financial statements. Therefore, today we will consider the nature of AVEVA Group's statutory earnings with reference to its dilution of shareholders and the impact of unusual items. 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.
In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. AVEVA Group expanded the number of shares on issue by 78% over the last year. As a result, its net income is now split between a greater number of shares. To talk about net income, without noticing earnings per share, is to be distracted by the big numbers while ignoring the smaller numbers that talk to per share value. Check out AVEVA Group's historical EPS growth by clicking on this link.
How Is Dilution Impacting AVEVA Group's Earnings Per Share? (EPS)
AVEVA Group's net profit dropped by 8.4% per year over the last three years. Even looking at the last year, profit was still down 45%. Sadly, earnings per share fell further, down a full 45% in that time. Therefore, one can observe that the dilution is having a fairly profound effect on shareholder returns.
In the long term, if AVEVA Group's earnings per share can increase, then the share price should too. But on the other hand, we'd be far less excited to learn profit (but not EPS) was improving. For that reason, you could say that EPS is more important that net income in the long run, assuming the goal is to assess whether a company's share price might grow.
How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?
Alongside that dilution, it's also important to note that AVEVA Group's profit suffered from unusual items, which reduced profit by UK£55m in the last twelve months. It's never great to see unusual items costing the company profits, but on the upside, things might improve sooner rather than later. When we analysed the vast majority of listed companies worldwide, we found that significant unusual items are often not repeated. And that's hardly a surprise given these line items are considered unusual. AVEVA Group took a rather significant hit from unusual items in the year to September 2020. All else being equal, this would likely have the effect of making the statutory profit look worse than its underlying earnings power.
Our Take On AVEVA Group's Profit Performance
To sum it all up, AVEVA Group took a hit from unusual items which pushed its profit down; without that, it would have made more money. But on the other hand, the company issued more shares, so without buying more shares each shareholder will end up with a smaller part of the profit. Based on these factors, it's hard to tell if AVEVA Group's profits are a reasonable reflection of its underlying profitability. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for AVEVA Group (of which 1 shouldn't be ignored!) you should know about.
In this article we've looked at a number of factors that can impair the utility of profit numbers, as a guide to a business. 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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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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