As a general rule, we think profitable companies are less risky than companies that lose money. 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. This article will consider whether Jewett-Cameron Trading's (NASDAQ:JCTC.F) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.
We like the fact that Jewett-Cameron Trading made a profit of US$3.28m on its revenue of US$48.2m, in the last year. In the chart below, you can see that its profit and revenue have both grown over the last three years.
Of course, when it comes to statutory profit, the devil is often in the detail, and we can get a better sense for a company by diving deeper into the financial statements. So today we'll look at what Jewett-Cameron Trading's cashflow tells us about the quality of its earnings. Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Jewett-Cameron Trading.
A Closer Look At Jewett-Cameron Trading'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. 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 November 2020, Jewett-Cameron Trading had an accrual ratio of 0.25. Unfortunately, that means its free cash flow fell significantly short of its reported profits. To wit, it produced free cash flow of US$57k during the period, falling well short of its reported profit of US$3.28m. Jewett-Cameron Trading shareholders will no doubt be hoping that its free cash flow bounces back next year, since it was down over the last twelve months. The good news for shareholders is that Jewett-Cameron Trading's accrual ratio was much better last year, so this year's poor reading might simply be a case of a short term mismatch between profit and FCF. As a result, some shareholders may be looking for stronger cash conversion in the current year.
Our Take On Jewett-Cameron Trading's Profit Performance
Jewett-Cameron Trading's accrual ratio for the last twelve months signifies cash conversion is less than ideal, which is a negative when it comes to our view of its earnings. Therefore, it seems possible to us that Jewett-Cameron Trading's true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. The silver lining is that its EPS growth over the last year has been really wonderful, even if it's not a perfect measure. 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 while earnings quality is important, it's equally important to consider the risks facing Jewett-Cameron Trading at this point in time. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Jewett-Cameron Trading (1 is a bit unpleasant!) and we strongly recommend you look at these bad boys before investing.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Jewett-Cameron Trading'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.
When trading Jewett-Cameron Trading or any other investment, use the platform considered by many to be the Professional's Gateway to the Worlds Market, Interactive Brokers. You get the lowest-cost* trading on stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.