Even though MultiChoice Group Limited's (JSE:MCG) recent earnings release was robust, the market didn't seem to notice. Investors are probably missing some underlying factors which are encouraging for the future of the company.
Zooming In On MultiChoice Group'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.
As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. 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. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.
Over the twelve months to March 2021, MultiChoice Group recorded an accrual ratio of -2.72. Therefore, its statutory earnings were very significantly less than its free cashflow. In fact, it had free cash flow of R7.3b in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of R2.16b. MultiChoice Group 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 MultiChoice Group's Profit Performance
Happily for shareholders, MultiChoice Group produced plenty of free cash flow to back up its statutory profit numbers. Because of this, we think MultiChoice Group's underlying earnings potential is as good as, or possibly even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! And on top of that, its earnings per share have grown at an extremely impressive rate 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. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. At Simply Wall St, we found 1 warning sign for MultiChoice Group and we think they deserve your attention.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of MultiChoice Group'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.
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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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