Stock Analysis

CSP (NASDAQ:CSPI) Posted Healthy Earnings But There Are Some Other Factors To Be Aware Of

NasdaqGM:CSPI
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Unsurprisingly, CSP Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CSPI) stock price was strong on the back of its healthy earnings report. However, our analysis suggests that shareholders may be missing some factors that indicate the earnings result was not as good as it looked.

Check out our latest analysis for CSP

earnings-and-revenue-history
NasdaqGM:CSPI Earnings and Revenue History February 16th 2023

Examining Cashflow Against CSP's Earnings

In high finance, the key ratio used to measure how well a company converts reported profits into free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio (from cashflow). 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. This ratio tells us how much of a company's profit is not backed by free cashflow.

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 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.

For the year to December 2022, CSP had an accrual ratio of 0.22. We can therefore deduce that its free cash flow fell well short of covering its statutory profit. In the last twelve months it actually had negative free cash flow, with an outflow of US$1.5m despite its profit of US$3.06m, mentioned above. We also note that CSP's free cash flow was actually negative last year as well, so we could understand if shareholders were bothered by its outflow of US$1.5m. The good news for shareholders is that CSP's accrual ratio was much better last year, so this year's poor reading might simply be a case of a short term mismatch between profit and FCF. As a result, some shareholders may be looking for stronger cash conversion in the current year.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of CSP.

Our Take On CSP's Profit Performance

CSP didn't convert much of its profit to free cash flow in the last year, which some investors may consider rather suboptimal. Therefore, it seems possible to us that CSP's true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. The good news is that it earned a profit in the last twelve months, despite its previous loss. 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, CSP has 3 warning signs (and 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) we think you should know about.

Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of CSP'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. 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether CSP is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.