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Sun.King Technology Group's (HKG:580) Sluggish Earnings Might Be Just The Beginning Of Its Problems

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

The subdued market reaction suggests that Sun.King Technology Group Limited's (HKG:580) recent earnings didn't contain any surprises. We think that investors are worried about some weaknesses underlying the earnings.

Check out our latest analysis for Sun.King Technology Group

SEHK:580 Earnings and Revenue History April 27th 2022

A Closer Look At Sun.King Technology Group's 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. The accrual ratio subtracts the FCF from the profit for a given period, and divides the result by the average operating assets of the company over that time. 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. 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.

Sun.King Technology Group has an accrual ratio of -0.11 for the year to December 2021. That indicates that its free cash flow was a fair bit more than its statutory profit. Indeed, in the last twelve months it reported free cash flow of CN¥167m, well over the CN¥15.5m it reported in profit. Given that Sun.King Technology Group had negative free cash flow in the prior corresponding period, the trailing twelve month resul of CN¥167m would seem to be a step in the right direction. However, that's not all there is to consider. The accrual ratio is reflecting the impact of unusual items on statutory profit, at least in part.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Sun.King Technology Group.

How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?

Surprisingly, given Sun.King Technology Group's accrual ratio implied strong cash conversion, its paper profit was actually boosted by CN¥5.3m in unusual items. While we like to see profit increases, we tend to be a little more cautious when unusual items have made a big contribution. We ran the numbers on most publicly listed companies worldwide, and it's very common for unusual items to be once-off in nature. Which is hardly surprising, given the name. Assuming those unusual items don't show up again in the current year, we'd thus expect profit to be weaker next year (in the absence of business growth, that is).

Our Take On Sun.King Technology Group's Profit Performance

In conclusion, Sun.King Technology Group's accrual ratio suggests its statutory earnings are of good quality, but on the other hand the profits were boosted by unusual items. Based on these factors, we think it's very unlikely that Sun.King Technology Group's statutory profits make it seem much weaker than it is. If you want to do dive deeper into Sun.King Technology Group, you'd also look into what risks it is currently facing. For example, we've found that Sun.King Technology Group has 3 warning signs (1 can't be ignored!) that deserve your attention before going any further with your analysis.

In this article we've looked at a number of factors that can impair the utility of profit numbers, as a guide to a business. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.

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