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. In this article, we'll look at how useful this year's statutory profit is, when analysing Avantor (NYSE:AVTR).
It's good to see that over the last twelve months Avantor made a profit of US$71.1m on revenue of US$6.13b. The good news is that the company managed to grow its revenue over the last three years, and also move from loss-making to profitable.
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. As a reuslt, we think it's important to consider how unusual items and the recent tax benefit have influenced Avantor's 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.
The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit
To properly understand Avantor's profit results, we need to consider the US$208m expense attributed to unusual items. It's never great to see unusual items costing the company profits, but on the upside, things might improve sooner rather than later. We looked at thousands of listed companies and found that unusual items are very often one-off in nature. And that's hardly a surprise given these line items are considered unusual. Assuming those unusual expenses don't come up again, we'd therefore expect Avantor to produce a higher profit next year, all else being equal.
An Unusual Tax Situation
Just as we noted the unusual items, we must inform you that Avantor received a tax benefit which contributed US$50m to the bottom line. It's always a bit noteworthy when a company is paid by the tax man, rather than paying the tax man. We're sure the company was pleased with its tax benefit. And given that it lost money last year, it seems possible that the benefit is evidence that it now expects to find value in its past tax losses. However, the devil in the detail is that these kind of benefits only impact in the year they are booked, and are often one-off in nature. Assuming the tax benefit is not repeated every year, we could see its profitability drop noticeably, all else being equal. While we think it's good that the company has booked a tax benefit, it does mean that there's every chance the statutory profit will come in a lot higher than it would be if the income was adjusted for one-off factors.
Our Take On Avantor's Profit Performance
In its last report Avantor received a tax benefit which might make its profit look better than it really is on a underlying level. Having said that, it also had a unusual item reducing its profit. Based on these factors, we think that Avantor's profits are a reasonably conservative guide to its underlying profitability. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. For example, we've found that Avantor has 3 warning signs (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) that deserve your attention before going any further with your analysis.
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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Avantor, Inc. provides products and services to customers in biopharma, healthcare, education and government, advanced technologies, and applied materials industries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Proven track record with mediocre balance sheet.