Investors Shouldn't Be Too Comfortable With Polyram Plastic Industries' (TLV:POLP) Robust Earnings

Simply Wall St
March 17, 2022
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Polyram Plastic Industries LTD (TLV:POLP) 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 Polyram Plastic Industries

TASE:POLP Earnings and Revenue History March 17th 2022

Examining Cashflow Against Polyram Plastic Industries' Earnings

Many investors haven't heard of the accrual ratio from cashflow, but it is actually a useful measure of how well a company's profit is backed up by free cash flow (FCF) during a given period. 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. This ratio tells us how much of a company's profit is not backed by free cashflow.

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 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 December 2021, Polyram Plastic Industries had an accrual ratio of 0.27. Unfortunately, that means its free cash flow fell significantly short of its reported profits. Even though it reported a profit of ₪97.2m, a look at free cash flow indicates it actually burnt through ₪73m in the last year. It's worth noting that Polyram Plastic Industries generated positive FCF of ₪95m a year ago, so at least they've done it in the past. Notably, the company has issued new shares, thus diluting existing shareholders and reducing their share of future earnings. One positive for Polyram Plastic Industries 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 Polyram Plastic Industries.

In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. As it happens, Polyram Plastic Industries issued 6.7% more new shares over the last year. As a result, its net income is now split between a greater number of shares. To celebrate net income while ignoring dilution is like rejoicing because you have a single slice of a larger pizza, but ignoring the fact that the pizza is now cut into many more slices. Check out Polyram Plastic Industries' historical EPS growth by clicking on this link.

A Look At The Impact Of Polyram Plastic Industries' Dilution on Its Earnings Per Share (EPS).

Polyram Plastic Industries has improved its profit over the last three years, with an annualized gain of 37% in that time. And at a glance the 57% gain in profit over the last year impresses. But in comparison, EPS only increased by 59% over the same period. And so, you can see quite clearly that dilution is influencing shareholder earnings.

Changes in the share price do tend to reflect changes in earnings per share, in the long run. So it will certainly be a positive for shareholders if Polyram Plastic Industries can grow EPS persistently. But on the other hand, we'd be far less excited to learn profit (but not EPS) was improving. For the ordinary retail shareholder, EPS is a great measure to check your hypothetical "share" of the company's profit.

Our Take On Polyram Plastic Industries' Profit Performance

As it turns out, Polyram Plastic Industries couldn't match its profit with cashflow and its dilution means that earnings per share growth is lagging net income growth. For the reasons mentioned above, we think that a perfunctory glance at Polyram Plastic Industries' statutory profits might make it look better than it really is on an underlying level. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. For instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for Polyram Plastic Industries (2 shouldn't be ignored) you should be familiar with.

Our examination of Polyram Plastic Industries has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. And, on that basis, we are somewhat skeptical. 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.

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