Stock Analysis

We Wouldn't Rely On Hancom Secure's (KOSDAQ:054920) Statutory Earnings As A Guide

KOSDAQ:A054920
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Statistically speaking, it is less risky to invest in profitable companies than in unprofitable ones. That said, the current statutory profit is not always a good guide to a company's underlying profitability. This article will consider whether Hancom Secure's (KOSDAQ:054920) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.

While Hancom Secure was able to generate revenue of ₩27.2b in the last twelve months, we think its profit result of ₩39.2b was more important.

Check out our latest analysis for Hancom Secure

earnings-and-revenue-history
KOSDAQ:A054920 Earnings and Revenue History December 17th 2020

Of course, it is only sensible to look beyond the statutory profits and question how well those numbers represent the sustainable earnings power of the business. So this article aims to better understand Hancom Secure's underlying earnings power by taking a look at how dilution, and unusual items are impacting it, and considering how well those paper profits are being converted into cash flow. Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Hancom Secure.

Examining Cashflow Against Hancom Secure's Earnings

One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company's average operating assets over that period. 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.

Hancom Secure has an accrual ratio of 0.33 for the year to September 2020. Therefore, we know that it's free cashflow was significantly lower than its statutory profit, raising questions about how useful that profit figure really is. In the last twelve months it actually had negative free cash flow, with an outflow of ₩2.0b despite its profit of ₩39.2b, mentioned above. It's worth noting that Hancom Secure generated positive FCF of ₩610m a year ago, so at least they've done it in the past. Having said that, there is more to consider. We must also consider the impact of unusual items on statutory profit (and thus the accrual ratio), as well as note the ramifications of the company issuing new shares.

In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. In fact, Hancom Secure increased the number of shares on issue by 32% over the last twelve months by issuing new shares. 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. You can see a chart of Hancom Secure's EPS by clicking here.

How Is Dilution Impacting Hancom Secure's Earnings Per Share? (EPS)

We don't have any data on the company's profits from three years ago. The good news is that profit was up 2,495% in the last twelve months. But EPS was less impressive, up only 1,763% in that time. So you can see that the dilution has had a fairly significant impact on shareholders.

In the long term, earnings per share growth should beget share price growth. So Hancom Secure shareholders will want to see that EPS figure continue to increase. 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.

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

The fact that the company had unusual items boosting profit by ₩1.2b, in the last year, probably goes some way to explain why its accrual ratio was so weak. 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 analysed the vast majority of listed companies worldwide, we found that significant unusual items are often not repeated. Which is hardly surprising, given the name. We can see that Hancom Secure's positive unusual items were quite significant relative to its profit in the year to September 2020. 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 Hancom Secure's Profit Performance

Hancom Secure didn't back up its earnings with free cashflow, but this isn't too surprising given profits were inflated by unusual items. Meanwhile, the new shares issued mean that shareholders now own less of the company, unless they tipped in more cash themselves. For all the reasons mentioned above, we think that, at a glance, Hancom Secure's statutory profits could be considered to be low quality, because they are likely to give investors an overly positive impression of the company. 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. Our analysis shows 3 warning signs for Hancom Secure (1 is significant!) and we strongly recommend you look at these bad boys before investing.

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. 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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