H & M Hennes & Mauritz's (STO:HM B) Solid Earnings Have Been Accounted For Conservatively

Simply Wall St
October 06, 2021
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The market seemed underwhelmed by last week's earnings announcement from H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) (STO:HM B) despite the healthy numbers. Our analysis suggests that shareholders might be missing some positive underlying factors in the earnings report.

See our latest analysis for H & M Hennes & Mauritz

OM:HM B Earnings and Revenue History October 7th 2021

Zooming In On H & M Hennes & Mauritz's Earnings

Many investors haven't heard of the accrual ratio from cashflow, but it is actually a useful measure of how well a company's profit is backed up by free cash flow (FCF) during a given period. 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. 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.

H & M Hennes & Mauritz has an accrual ratio of -0.70 for the year to August 2021. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. To wit, it produced free cash flow of kr44b during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of kr8.87b. H & M Hennes & Mauritz's free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see.

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 H & M Hennes & Mauritz's Profit Performance

Happily for shareholders, H & M Hennes & Mauritz produced plenty of free cash flow to back up its statutory profit numbers. Because of this, we think H & M Hennes & Mauritz's underlying earnings potential is as good as, or possibly even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! And on top of that, its earnings per share have grown at an extremely impressive rate 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. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for H & M Hennes & Mauritz you should be aware of.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of H & M Hennes & Mauritz'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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