Soft earnings didn't appear to concern Shenandoah Telecommunications Company's (NASDAQ:SHEN) shareholders over the last week. Our analysis suggests that while the profits are soft, the foundations of the business are strong.
Examining Cashflow Against Shenandoah Telecommunications' Earnings
Many investors haven't heard of the accrual ratio from cashflow, but it is actually a useful measure of how well a company's profit is backed up by free cash flow (FCF) during a given period. 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. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.
Shenandoah Telecommunications has an accrual ratio of -0.15 for the year to December 2020. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. In fact, it had free cash flow of US$166m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of US$2.63m. Shenandoah Telecommunications did see its free cash flow drop year on year, which is less than ideal, like a Simpson's episode without Groundskeeper Willie.
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 Shenandoah Telecommunications' Profit Performance
As we discussed above, Shenandoah Telecommunications has perfectly satisfactory free cash flow relative to profit. Because of this, we think Shenandoah Telecommunications' earnings potential is at least as good as it seems, and maybe even better! 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. At Simply Wall St, we found 1 warning sign for Shenandoah Telecommunications and we think they deserve your attention.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Shenandoah Telecommunications' 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. 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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