Stock Analysis

Why Sakura DevelopmentLtd's (TPE:2539) Shaky Earnings Are Just The Beginning Of Its Problems

TWSE:2539
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The subdued market reaction suggests that Sakura Development Co.,Ltd's (TPE:2539) recent earnings didn't contain any surprises. Our analysis suggests that along with soft profit numbers, investors should be aware of some other underlying weaknesses in the numbers.

See our latest analysis for Sakura DevelopmentLtd

earnings-and-revenue-history
TSEC:2539 Earnings and Revenue History April 1st 2021

Zooming In On Sakura DevelopmentLtd'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.

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".

Sakura DevelopmentLtd has an accrual ratio of 0.33 for the year to December 2020. We can therefore deduce that its free cash flow fell well short of covering its statutory profit, suggesting we might want to think twice before putting a lot of weight on the latter. In the last twelve months it actually had negative free cash flow, with an outflow of NT$3.6b despite its profit of NT$822.1m, mentioned above. It's worth noting that Sakura DevelopmentLtd generated positive FCF of NT$1.5b a year ago, so at least they've done it in the past.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Sakura DevelopmentLtd.

Our Take On Sakura DevelopmentLtd's Profit Performance

As we discussed above, we think Sakura DevelopmentLtd's earnings were not supported by free cash flow, which might concern some investors. For this reason, we think that Sakura DevelopmentLtd's statutory profits may be a bad guide to its underlying earnings power, and might give investors an overly positive impression of the company. In further bad news, its earnings per share decreased in 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. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Sakura DevelopmentLtd you should know about.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Sakura DevelopmentLtd'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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