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We Think CN Logistics International Holdings' (HKG:2130) Robust Earnings Are Conservative

Simply Wall St ·  05/03 07:06

The subdued stock price reaction suggests that CN Logistics International Holdings Limited's (HKG:2130) strong earnings didn't offer any surprises. Our analysis suggests that investors might be missing some promising details.

Check out our latest analysis for CN Logistics International Holdings

SEHK:2130 Earnings and Revenue History May 2nd 2022

Zooming In On CN Logistics International Holdings' Earnings

One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. 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. 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".

CN Logistics International Holdings has an accrual ratio of -0.21 for the year to December 2021. That implies it has very good cash conversion, and that its earnings in the last year actually significantly understate its free cash flow. In fact, it had free cash flow of HK$149m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of HK$83.4m. CN Logistics International Holdings did see its free cash flow drop year on year, which is less than ideal, like a Simpson's episode without Groundskeeper Willie. Notably, the company has issued new shares, thus diluting existing shareholders and reducing their share of future earnings.

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.

In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. CN Logistics International Holdings expanded the number of shares on issue by 10% over the last year. That means its earnings are split among a greater number of shares. To celebrate net income while ignoring dilution is like rejoicing because you have a single slice of a larger pizza, but ignoring the fact that the pizza is now cut into many more slices. You can see a chart of CN Logistics International Holdings' EPS by clicking here.

A Look At The Impact Of CN Logistics International Holdings' Dilution on Its Earnings Per Share (EPS).

CN Logistics International Holdings has improved its profit over the last three years, with an annualized gain of 263% in that time. In comparison, earnings per share only gained over the same period. And at a glance the 50% gain in profit over the last year impresses. But that's starkly different from the 20% drop in earnings per share. And so, you can see quite clearly that dilution is influencing shareholder earnings.

If CN Logistics International Holdings' EPS can grow over time then that drastically improves the chances of the share price moving in the same direction. However, if its profit increases while its earnings per share stay flat (or even fall) then shareholders might not see much benefit. For that reason, you could say that EPS is more important that net income in the long run, assuming the goal is to assess whether a company's share price might grow.

Our Take On CN Logistics International Holdings' Profit Performance

In conclusion, CN Logistics International Holdings has a strong cashflow relative to earnings, which indicates good quality earnings, but the dilution means its earnings per share are dropping faster than its profit. Considering all the aforementioned, we'd venture that CN Logistics International Holdings' profit result is a pretty good guide to its true profitability, albeit a bit on the conservative side. 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. You'd be interested to know, that we found 1 warning sign for CN Logistics International Holdings and you'll want to know about it.

Our examination of CN Logistics International Holdings has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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.

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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