Many investors consider it preferable to invest in profitable companies over unprofitable ones, because profitability suggests a business is sustainable. That said, the current statutory profit is not always a good guide to a company's underlying profitability. This article will consider whether Alcadon Group's (STO:ALCA) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.
We like the fact that Alcadon Group made a profit of kr24.9m on its revenue of kr481.6m, in the last year. While it managed to grow its revenue over the last three years, its profit has moved in the other direction, as you can see in the chart below.
Of course, it is only sensible to look beyond the statutory profits and question how well those numbers represent the sustainable earnings power of the business. As a result, we think it's well worth considering what Alcadon Group's cashflow (when compared to its earnings) can tell us about the nature of its statutory profit. 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 Alcadon Group's Earnings
In high finance, the key ratio used to measure how well a company converts reported profits into free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio (from cashflow). 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'.
Therefore, it's actually considered a good thing when a company has a negative accrual ratio, but a bad thing if its accrual ratio is positive. 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. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.
For the year to June 2020, Alcadon Group had an accrual ratio of -0.15. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. Indeed, in the last twelve months it reported free cash flow of kr73m, well over the kr24.9m it reported in profit. Alcadon Group's free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see.
Our Take On Alcadon Group's Profit Performance
Alcadon Group's accrual ratio is solid, and indicates strong free cash flow, as we discussed, above. Based on this observation, we consider it likely that Alcadon Group's statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! Unfortunately, though, its earnings per share actually fell back over the last year. At the end of the day, it's essential to consider more than just the factors above, if you want to understand the company properly. 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. While conducting our analysis, we found that Alcadon Group has 3 warning signs and it would be unwise to ignore them.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Alcadon Group'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. 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.
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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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