Stock Analysis

Does Silicon Laboratories's (NASDAQ:SLAB) Statutory Profit Adequately Reflect Its Underlying Profit?

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NasdaqGS:SLAB
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It might be old fashioned, but we really like to invest in companies that make a profit, each and every year. That said, the current statutory profit is not always a good guide to a company's underlying profitability. This article will consider whether Silicon Laboratories' (NASDAQ:SLAB) statutory profits are a good guide to its underlying earnings.

It's good to see that over the last twelve months Silicon Laboratories made a profit of US$13.3m on revenue of US$863.2m. As you can see in the chart below, its profit has declined over the last three years, even though its revenue has increased.

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earnings-and-revenue-history
NasdaqGS:SLAB Earnings and Revenue History December 11th 2020

Not all profits are equal, and we can learn more about the nature of a company's past profitability by diving deeper into the financial statements. As a result, we think it's well worth considering what Silicon Laboratories' cashflow (when compared to its earnings) can tell us about the nature of its 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.

Examining Cashflow Against Silicon Laboratories' 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'.

Therefore, it's actually considered a good thing when a company has a negative accrual ratio, but a bad thing if its accrual ratio is positive. 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. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".

Silicon Laboratories has an accrual ratio of -0.14 for the year to October 2020. That implies it has very good cash conversion, and that its earnings in the last year actually significantly understate its free cash flow. In fact, it had free cash flow of US$140m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of US$13.3m. Silicon Laboratories did see its free cash flow drop year on year, which is less than ideal, like a Simpson's episode without Groundskeeper Willie.

Our Take On Silicon Laboratories' Profit Performance

As we discussed above, Silicon Laboratories has perfectly satisfactory free cash flow relative to profit. Based on this observation, we consider it likely that Silicon Laboratories' statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! Unfortunately, though, its earnings per share actually fell back over the last year. At the end of the day, it's essential to consider more than just the factors above, if you want to understand the company properly. With this in mind, we wouldn't consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Silicon Laboratories you should be mindful of and 1 of these is a bit unpleasant.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Silicon Laboratories' profit. 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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What are the risks and opportunities for Silicon Laboratories?

Silicon Laboratories Inc., a fabless semiconductor company, provides various analog-intensive mixed-signal solutions in the United States, China, Taiwan, and internationally.

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Rewards

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 4.28% per year

  • Became profitable this year

Risks

No risks detected for SLAB from our risks checks.

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