The market shrugged off the recent earnings report from Greenlam Industries Limited (NSE:GREENLAM), despite the profit numbers being soft. We think that investors might be looking at some positive factors beyond the earnings numbers.
A Closer Look At Greenlam Industries' Earnings
As finance nerds would already know, the accrual ratio from cashflow is a key measure for assessing how well a company's free cash flow (FCF) matches its profit. 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'.
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. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.
Over the twelve months to March 2021, Greenlam Industries recorded an accrual ratio of -0.12. That implies it has good cash conversion, and implies that its free cash flow solidly exceeded its profit last year. To wit, it produced free cash flow of ₹1.6b during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of ₹737.6m. Greenlam Industries' free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see. 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.
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.
How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?
Greenlam Industries' profit was reduced by unusual items worth ₹124m in the last twelve months, and this helped it produce high cash conversion, as reflected by its unusual items. In a scenario where those unusual items included non-cash charges, we'd expect to see a strong accrual ratio, which is exactly what has happened in this case. 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. Assuming those unusual expenses don't come up again, we'd therefore expect Greenlam Industries to produce a higher profit next year, all else being equal.
Our Take On Greenlam Industries' Profit Performance
Considering both Greenlam Industries' accrual ratio and its unusual items, we think its statutory earnings are unlikely to exaggerate the company's underlying earnings power. Based on these factors, we think Greenlam Industries' earnings potential is at least as good as it seems, and maybe even better! In light of this, if you'd like to do more analysis on the company, it's vital to be informed of the risks involved. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Greenlam Industries you should be aware of.
After our examination into the nature of Greenlam Industries' profit, we've come away optimistic for the company. 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. 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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