Soft earnings didn't appear to concern Viant Technology Inc.'s (NASDAQ:DSP) shareholders over the last week. Our analysis suggests that while the profits are soft, the foundations of the business are strong.
A Closer Look At Viant Technology'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). In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company's average operating assets over that 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. 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. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".
Viant Technology has an accrual ratio of -0.47 for the year to March 2021. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. In fact, it had free cash flow of US$22m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of US$5.02m. Viant Technology shareholders are no doubt pleased that free cash flow improved over the last twelve months.
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 Viant Technology's Profit Performance
As we discussed above, Viant Technology's accrual ratio indicates strong conversion of profit to free cash flow, which is a positive for the company. Because of this, we think Viant Technology's underlying earnings potential is as good as, or possibly even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! Unfortunately, though, its earnings per share actually fell back over the last year. 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. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. For example - Viant Technology has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Viant Technology's 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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