Stock Analysis

Statutory Profit Doesn't Reflect How Good Clas Ohlson's (STO:CLAS B) Earnings Are

OM:CLAS B
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Clas Ohlson AB (publ) (STO:CLAS B) recently posted some strong earnings, and the market responded positively. We did some digging and found some further encouraging factors that investors will like.

See our latest analysis for Clas Ohlson

earnings-and-revenue-history
OM:CLAS B Earnings and Revenue History June 18th 2024

Zooming In On Clas Ohlson'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. To get the accrual ratio we first subtract FCF from profit for a period, and then divide that number by the average operating assets for the period. This ratio tells us how much of a company's profit is not backed by free cashflow.

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".

Clas Ohlson has an accrual ratio of -0.54 for the year to April 2024. That implies it has very good cash conversion, and that its earnings in the last year actually significantly understate its free cash flow. In fact, it had free cash flow of kr1.4b in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of kr508.6m. Clas Ohlson shareholders are no doubt pleased that free cash flow improved over the last twelve months. Having said that, there is more to the story. We can see that unusual items have impacted its statutory profit, and therefore the accrual ratio.

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.

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

Clas Ohlson's profit was reduced by unusual items worth kr205m in the last twelve months, and this helped it produce high cash conversion, as reflected by its unusual items. In a scenario where those unusual items included non-cash charges, we'd expect to see a strong accrual ratio, which is exactly what has happened in this case. It's never great to see unusual items costing the company profits, but on the upside, things might improve sooner rather than later. We looked at thousands of listed companies and found that unusual items are very often one-off in nature. And that's hardly a surprise given these line items are considered unusual. Assuming those unusual expenses don't come up again, we'd therefore expect Clas Ohlson to produce a higher profit next year, all else being equal.

Our Take On Clas Ohlson's Profit Performance

Considering both Clas Ohlson's accrual ratio and its unusual items, we think its statutory earnings are unlikely to exaggerate the company's underlying earnings power. Based on these factors, we think Clas Ohlson's underlying earnings potential is as good as, or probably even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. You'd be interested to know, that we found 3 warning signs for Clas Ohlson and you'll want to know about them.

Our examination of Clas Ohlson has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. And it has passed with flying colours. 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 with significant insider holdings to be useful.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Clas Ohlson is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Clas Ohlson is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com