We Like BellRing Brands' (NYSE:BRBR) Earnings For More Than Just Statutory Profit

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 14, 2022
NYSE:BRBR
Source: Shutterstock

BellRing Brands, Inc.'s (NYSE:BRBR) solid earnings announcement recently didn't do much to the stock price. We did some digging, and we think that investors are missing some encouraging factors in the underlying numbers.

Check out our latest analysis for BellRing Brands

earnings-and-revenue-history
NYSE:BRBR Earnings and Revenue History May 14th 2022

Examining Cashflow Against BellRing Brands' Earnings

One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. 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 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. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.

BellRing Brands has an accrual ratio of -0.32 for the year to March 2022. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. To wit, it produced free cash flow of US$168m during the period, dwarfing its reported profit of US$28.7m. BellRing Brands' free cash flow actually declined over the last year, which is disappointing, like non-biodegradable balloons. However, that's not all there is to consider. The accrual ratio is reflecting the impact of unusual items on statutory profit, at least in part.

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.

How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?

BellRing Brands' profit was reduced by unusual items worth US$53m in the last twelve months, and this helped it produce high cash conversion, as reflected by its unusual items. This is what you'd expect to see where a company has a non-cash charge reducing paper profits. It's never great to see unusual items costing the company profits, but on the upside, things might improve sooner rather than later. When we analysed the vast majority of listed companies worldwide, we found that significant unusual items are often not repeated. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. Assuming those unusual expenses don't come up again, we'd therefore expect BellRing Brands to produce a higher profit next year, all else being equal.

Our Take On BellRing Brands' Profit Performance

In conclusion, both BellRing Brands' accrual ratio and its unusual items suggest that its statutory earnings are probably reasonably conservative. Based on these factors, we think BellRing Brands' underlying earnings potential is as good as, or probably even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! 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. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for BellRing Brands (of which 2 are significant!) you should know about.

After our examination into the nature of BellRing Brands' profit, we've come away optimistic for the company. 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. 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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