It might be old fashioned, but we really like to invest in companies that make a profit, each and every year. However, sometimes companies receive a one-off boost (or reduction) to their profit, and it's not always clear whether statutory profits are a good guide, going forward. Today we'll focus on whether this year's statutory profits are a good guide to understanding Transtema Group (STO:TRANS).
It's good to see that over the last twelve months Transtema Group made a profit of kr41.9m on revenue of kr1.42b.
Importantly, statutory profits are not always the best tool for understanding a company's true earnings power, so it's well worth examining profits in a little more detail. So today we'll look at what Transtema Group's cashflow tells us about its earnings, as well as examining how issuing shares is impacting shareholder value. 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.
Zooming In On Transtema Group's Earnings
One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company's average operating assets over that period. The ratio shows us how much a company's profit exceeds its FCF.
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. 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".
For the year to September 2020, Transtema Group had an accrual ratio of -0.30. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. To wit, it produced free cash flow of kr119m during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of kr41.9m. Transtema Group's free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see. Notably, the company has issued new shares, thus diluting existing shareholders and reducing their share of future earnings.
One essential aspect of assessing earnings quality is to look at how much a company is diluting shareholders. As it happens, Transtema Group issued 40% more new shares over the last year. As a result, its net income is now split between a greater number of shares. To celebrate net income while ignoring dilution is like rejoicing because you have a single slice of a larger pizza, but ignoring the fact that the pizza is now cut into many more slices. You can see a chart of Transtema Group's EPS by clicking here.
How Is Dilution Impacting Transtema Group's Earnings Per Share? (EPS)
As it happens, we don't know how much the company made or lost three years ago, because we don't have the data. And even focusing only on the last twelve months, we see profit is down 42%. Like a sack of potatoes thrown from a delivery truck, EPS fell harder, down 52% in the same period. And so, you can see quite clearly that dilution is having a rather significant impact on shareholders.
If Transtema Group's EPS can grow over time then that drastically improves the chances of the share price moving in the same direction. But on the other hand, we'd be far less excited to learn profit (but not EPS) was improving. For the ordinary retail shareholder, EPS is a great measure to check your hypothetical "share" of the company's profit.
Our Take On Transtema Group's Profit Performance
In conclusion, Transtema Group has a strong cashflow relative to earnings, which indicates good quality earnings, but the dilution means its earnings per share are dropping faster than its profit. After taking into account all these factors, we think that Transtema Group's statutory results are a decent reflection of its underlying earnings power. 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. At Simply Wall St, we found 5 warning signs for Transtema Group and we think they deserve your attention.
In this article we've looked at a number of factors that can impair the utility of profit numbers, as a guide to a business. 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. 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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