Here's Why Core-Mark Holding Company's (NASDAQ:CORE) Statutory Earnings Are Arguably Too Conservative

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 06, 2020
NasdaqGS:CORE

Broadly speaking, profitable businesses are less risky than unprofitable ones. That said, the current statutory profit is not always a good guide to a company's underlying profitability. Today we'll focus on whether this year's statutory profits are a good guide to understanding Core-Mark Holding Company (NASDAQ:CORE).

It's good to see that over the last twelve months Core-Mark Holding Company made a profit of US$59.9m on revenue of US$13.4b. In the chart below, you can see that its profit and revenue have both grown over the last three years.

Check out our latest analysis for Core-Mark Holding Company

earnings-and-revenue-history
NasdaqGS:CORE Earnings and Revenue History November 6th 2020

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. Today, we'll discuss Core-Mark Holding Company's free cashflow relative to its earnings, and consider what that tells us about the company. 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.

A Closer Look At Core-Mark Holding Company'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. To get the accrual ratio we first subtract FCF from profit for a period, and then divide that number by the average operating assets for the period. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the 'non-FCF profit ratio'.

As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. That is not intended to imply we should worry about a positive accrual ratio, but it's worth noting where the accrual ratio is rather high. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.

Over the twelve months to June 2020, Core-Mark Holding Company recorded an accrual ratio of -0.23. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. Indeed, in the last twelve months it reported free cash flow of US$250m, well over the US$59.9m it reported in profit. Core-Mark Holding Company's free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see.

Our Take On Core-Mark Holding Company's Profit Performance

As we discussed above, Core-Mark Holding Company's accrual ratio indicates strong conversion of profit to free cash flow, which is a positive for the company. Because of this, we think Core-Mark Holding Company's underlying earnings potential is as good as, or possibly even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! And on top of that, its earnings per share have grown at 48% per year over the last three years. 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. 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. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs that you should run your eye over to get a better picture of Core-Mark Holding Company.

Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Core-Mark Holding Company's profit. But there are plenty of other ways to inform your opinion of a company. 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.

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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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