Liquidity Services, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:LQDT) strong earnings report was rewarded with a positive stock price move. Our analysis found some more factors that we think are good for shareholders.
Examining Cashflow Against Liquidity Services' Earnings
One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. 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'.
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 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. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.
For the year to March 2021, Liquidity Services had an accrual ratio of -1.08. Therefore, its statutory earnings were very significantly less than its free cashflow. In fact, it had free cash flow of US$56m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of US$15.4m. Given that Liquidity Services had negative free cash flow in the prior corresponding period, the trailing twelve month resul of US$56m would seem to be a step in the right direction.
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.
Our Take On Liquidity Services' Profit Performance
Happily for shareholders, Liquidity Services produced plenty of free cash flow to back up its statutory profit numbers. Based on this observation, we consider it possible that Liquidity Services' statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! And one can definitely find a positive in the fact that it made a profit this year, despite losing money last year. Of course, we've only just scratched the surface when it comes to analysing its earnings; one could also consider margins, forecast growth, and return on investment, among other factors. 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. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 3 warning signs with Liquidity Services, and understanding these bad boys should be part of your investment process.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Liquidity Services' 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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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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