Ester Industries (NSE:ESTER) Strong Profits May Be Masking Some Underlying Issues

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 25, 2021
NSEI:ESTER
Source: Shutterstock

The stock price didn't jump after Ester Industries Limited (NSE:ESTER) posted decent earnings last week. We did some digging and believe investors may be worried about some underlying factors in the report.

Check out our latest analysis for Ester Industries

earnings-and-revenue-history
NSEI:ESTER Earnings and Revenue History May 26th 2021

Examining Cashflow Against Ester 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. The ratio shows us how much a company's profit exceeds its FCF.

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. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".

For the year to March 2021, Ester Industries had an accrual ratio of 0.21. Unfortunately, that means its free cash flow fell significantly short of its reported profits. Indeed, in the last twelve months it reported free cash flow of ₹97m, which is significantly less than its profit of ₹1.37b. Ester Industries shareholders will no doubt be hoping that its free cash flow bounces back next year, since it was down over the last twelve months. The good news for shareholders is that Ester Industries' accrual ratio was much better last year, so this year's poor reading might simply be a case of a short term mismatch between profit and FCF. 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 Ester Industries.

Our Take On Ester Industries' Profit Performance

Ester Industries didn't convert much of its profit to free cash flow in the last year, which some investors may consider rather suboptimal. Because of this, we think that it may be that Ester Industries' statutory profits are better than its underlying earnings power. But the good news is that its EPS growth over the last three years has been very impressive. At the end of the day, it's essential to consider more than just the factors above, if you want to understand the company properly. 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. For example, we've found that Ester Industries has 3 warning signs (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that deserve your attention before going any further with your analysis.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Ester Industries' profit. 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. 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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