Skanska AB (publ)'s (STO:SKA B) recent weak earnings report didn't cause a big stock movement. Our analysis suggests that along with soft profit numbers, investors should be aware of some other underlying weaknesses in the numbers.
A Closer Look At Skanska'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. 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. While having an accrual ratio above zero is of little concern, we do think it's worth noting when a company has a relatively high accrual ratio. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.
Skanska has an accrual ratio of 0.25 for the year to March 2022. Therefore, we know that it's free cashflow was significantly lower than its statutory profit, which is hardly a good thing. Over the last year it actually had negative free cash flow of kr780m, in contrast to the aforementioned profit of kr6.67b. We saw that FCF was kr11b a year ago though, so Skanska has at least been able to generate positive FCF in the past. One positive for Skanska 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.
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.
Our Take On Skanska's Profit Performance
Skanska'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 Skanska's true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. Nonetheless, it's still worth noting that its earnings per share have grown at 27% over the last three years. 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. 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. To help with this, we've discovered 3 warning signs (1 is potentially serious!) that you ought to be aware of before buying any shares in Skanska.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Skanska's profit. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.