Stock Analysis

We Believe Labixiaoxin Snacks Group's (HKG:1262) Earnings Are A Poor Guide For Its Profitability

SEHK:1262
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The latest earnings release from Labixiaoxin Snacks Group Limited (HKG:1262 ) disappointed investors. We did some digging and found some underlying numbers that are worrying.

Check out our latest analysis for Labixiaoxin Snacks Group

earnings-and-revenue-history
SEHK:1262 Earnings and Revenue History October 6th 2021

A Closer Look At Labixiaoxin Snacks Group'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. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the 'non-FCF profit ratio'.

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.

For the year to June 2021, Labixiaoxin Snacks Group had an accrual ratio of 0.23. Unfortunately, that means its free cash flow fell significantly short of its reported profits. Over the last year it actually had negative free cash flow of CN¥174m, in contrast to the aforementioned profit of CN¥74.7m. We also note that Labixiaoxin Snacks Group's free cash flow was actually negative last year as well, so we could understand if shareholders were bothered by its outflow of CN¥174m. However, that's not all there is to consider. The accrual ratio is reflecting the impact of unusual items on statutory profit, at least in part. One positive for Labixiaoxin Snacks Group shareholders is that it's accrual ratio was significantly better last year, providing reason to believe that it may return to stronger cash conversion in the future. As a result, some shareholders may be looking for stronger cash conversion in the current year.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Labixiaoxin Snacks Group.

How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?

Given the accrual ratio, it's not overly surprising that Labixiaoxin Snacks Group's profit was boosted by unusual items worth CN¥158m in the last twelve months. While it's always nice to have higher profit, a large contribution from unusual items sometimes dampens our enthusiasm. We ran the numbers on most publicly listed companies worldwide, and it's very common for unusual items to be once-off in nature. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. Labixiaoxin Snacks Group had a rather significant contribution from unusual items relative to its profit to June 2021. As a result, we can surmise that the unusual items are making its statutory profit significantly stronger than it would otherwise be.

Our Take On Labixiaoxin Snacks Group's Profit Performance

Summing up, Labixiaoxin Snacks Group received a nice boost to profit from unusual items, but could not match its paper profit with free cash flow. For the reasons mentioned above, we think that a perfunctory glance at Labixiaoxin Snacks Group's statutory profits might make it look better than it really is on an underlying level. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. When we did our research, we found 4 warning signs for Labixiaoxin Snacks Group (2 are a bit unpleasant!) that we believe deserve your full attention.

In this article we've looked at a number of factors that can impair the utility of profit numbers, and we've come away cautious. 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. 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Labixiaoxin Snacks Group is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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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