Stock Analysis

Why Nestcon Berhad's (KLSE:NESTCON) Shaky Earnings Are Just The Beginning Of Its Problems

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The subdued market reaction suggests that Nestcon Berhad's (KLSE:NESTCON) recent earnings didn't contain any surprises. We think that investors are worried about some weaknesses underlying the earnings.

See our latest analysis for Nestcon Berhad

KLSE:NESTCON Earnings and Revenue History March 7th 2022

Zooming In On Nestcon Berhad's 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. 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. 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. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".

Nestcon Berhad has an accrual ratio of 0.27 for the year to December 2021. 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 RM7.3m, in contrast to the aforementioned profit of RM12.2m. We saw that FCF was RM17m a year ago though, so Nestcon Berhad has at least been able to generate positive FCF in the past. One positive for Nestcon Berhad 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. Shareholders should look for improved cashflow relative to profit in the current year, if that is indeed the case.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Nestcon Berhad.

Our Take On Nestcon Berhad's Profit Performance

Nestcon Berhad's accrual ratio for the last twelve months signifies cash conversion is less than ideal, which is a negative when it comes to our view of its earnings. Therefore, it seems possible to us that Nestcon Berhad's true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. In further bad news, its earnings per share decreased in the last year. The goal of this article has been to assess how well we can rely on the statutory earnings to reflect the company's potential, but there is plenty more to consider. If you want to do dive deeper into Nestcon Berhad, you'd also look into what risks it is currently facing. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Nestcon Berhad (including 1 which is significant).

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Nestcon Berhad's 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. 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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Nestcon Berhad

Nestcon Berhad, an investment holding company, provides construction services in Malaysia.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Future Growth0
Past Performance1
Financial Health3

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Mediocre balance sheet with poor track record.