As a general rule, we think profitable companies are less risky than companies that lose money. Having said that, sometimes statutory profit levels are not a good guide to ongoing profitability, because some short term one-off factor has impacted profit levels. This article will consider whether Wellcall Holdings Berhad's (KLSE:WELLCAL) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.
While Wellcall Holdings Berhad was able to generate revenue of RM134.9m in the last twelve months, we think its profit result of RM29.4m was more important. The chart below shows that both revenue and profit have declined over the last three years.
Not all profits are equal, and we can learn more about the nature of a company's past profitability by diving deeper into the financial statements. Today, we'll discuss Wellcall Holdings Berhad's free cashflow relative to its earnings, and consider what that tells us about the company. 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.
Examining Cashflow Against Wellcall Holdings 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. 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'.
That means a negative accrual ratio is a good thing, because it shows that the company is bringing in more free cash flow than its profit would suggest. 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. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.
Over the twelve months to September 2020, Wellcall Holdings Berhad recorded an accrual ratio of -0.11. That implies it has good cash conversion, and implies that its free cash flow solidly exceeded its profit last year. In fact, it had free cash flow of RM36m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of RM29.4m. Wellcall Holdings Berhad did see its free cash flow drop year on year, which is less than ideal, like a Simpson's episode without Groundskeeper Willie.
Our Take On Wellcall Holdings Berhad's Profit Performance
As we discussed above, Wellcall Holdings Berhad has perfectly satisfactory free cash flow relative to profit. Because of this, we think Wellcall Holdings Berhad's earnings potential is at least as good as it seems, and maybe even better! Unfortunately, though, its earnings per share actually fell back over 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. So while earnings quality is important, it's equally important to consider the risks facing Wellcall Holdings Berhad at this point in time. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Wellcall Holdings Berhad you should be aware of.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Wellcall Holdings Berhad's profit. 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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