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Why Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd's (SZSE:301072) Soft Earnings Are Just The Beginning Of Its Problems

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

Zhongjie (Jiangsu) Technology Co.,Ltd.'s (SZSE:301072) stock wasn't much affected by its recent lackluster earnings numbers. We did some analysis and found some concerning details beneath the statutory profit number.

Check out our latest analysis for Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd

SZSE:301072 Earnings and Revenue History May 4th 2022

Zooming In On Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd'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. The ratio shows us how much a company's profit exceeds its FCF.

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. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.

For the year to March 2022, Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd had an accrual ratio of 0.25. Unfortunately, that means its free cash flow fell significantly short of its reported profits. Even though it reported a profit of CN¥40.6m, a look at free cash flow indicates it actually burnt through CN¥93m in the last year. Coming off the back of negative free cash flow last year, we imagine some shareholders might wonder if its cash burn of CN¥93m, this year, indicates high risk. 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 Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd.

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

Given the accrual ratio, it's not overly surprising that Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd's profit was boosted by unusual items worth CN¥9.8m in the last twelve months. While it's always nice to have higher profit, a large contribution from unusual items sometimes dampens our enthusiasm. 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. Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd had a rather significant contribution from unusual items relative to its profit to March 2022. As a result, we can surmise that the unusual items are making its statutory profit significantly stronger than it would otherwise be.

Our Take On Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd's Profit Performance

Summing up, Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd received a nice boost to profit from unusual items, but could not match its paper profit with free cash flow. Considering all this we'd argue Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd's profits probably give an overly generous impression of its sustainable level of profitability. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd (including 1 which is significant).

Our examination of Zhongjie (Jiangsu) TechnologyLtd has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. And, on that basis, we are somewhat skeptical. 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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