Robust Earnings May Not Tell The Whole Story For Halma (LON:HLMA)

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 25, 2021
LSE:HLMA
Source: Shutterstock

Halma plc (LON:HLMA) announced strong profits, but the stock was stagnant. Our analysis suggests that shareholders have noticed something concerning in the numbers.

Check out our latest analysis for Halma

earnings-and-revenue-history
LSE:HLMA Earnings and Revenue History November 26th 2021

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

To properly understand Halma's profit results, we need to consider the UK£55m gain attributed to unusual items. While we like to see profit increases, we tend to be a little more cautious when unusual items have made a big contribution. When we crunched the numbers on thousands of publicly listed companies, we found that a boost from unusual items in a given year is often not repeated the next year. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. If Halma doesn't see that contribution repeat, then all else being equal we'd expect its profit to drop over the current year.

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 Halma's Profit Performance

We'd posit that Halma's statutory earnings aren't a clean read on ongoing productivity, due to the large unusual item. Therefore, it seems possible to us that Halma's true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. Nonetheless, it's still worth noting that its earnings per share have grown at 57% over the last three years. The goal of this article has been to assess how well we can rely on the statutory earnings to reflect the company's potential, but there is plenty more to consider. With this in mind, we wouldn't consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 2 warning signs with Halma, and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Halma's profit. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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. 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.

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