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Piesat Information Technology's (SHSE:688066) Earnings Are Built On Soft Foundations

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

Piesat Information Technology Co., Ltd.'s (SHSE:688066) stock performed strongly after the recent earnings report. However, we think that investors should be cautious when interpreting the profit numbers.

View our latest analysis for Piesat Information Technology

SHSE:688066 Earnings and Revenue History May 4th 2022

Examining Cashflow Against Piesat Information Technology's 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. 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. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the 'non-FCF profit ratio'.

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.

Piesat Information Technology has an accrual ratio of 0.82 for the year to March 2022. As a general rule, that bodes poorly for future profitability. And indeed, during the period the company didn't produce any free cash flow whatsoever. In the last twelve months it actually had negative free cash flow, with an outflow of CN¥1.0b despite its profit of CN¥195.4m, mentioned above. We also note that Piesat Information Technology's free cash flow was actually negative last year as well, so we could understand if shareholders were bothered by its outflow of CN¥1.0b. However, that's not the end of the story. We can look at how unusual items in the profit and loss statement impacted its accrual ratio, as well as explore how dilution is impacting shareholders negatively.

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. Piesat Information Technology expanded the number of shares on issue by 11% over the last year. That means its earnings are split among a greater number of shares. Per share metrics like EPS help us understand how much actual shareholders are benefitting from the company's profits, while the net income level gives us a better view of the company's absolute size. Check out Piesat Information Technology's historical EPS growth by clicking on this link.

How Is Dilution Impacting Piesat Information Technology's Earnings Per Share? (EPS)

As you can see above, Piesat Information Technology has been growing its net income over the last few years, with an annualized gain of 304% over three years. In comparison, earnings per share only gained 182% over the same period. And at a glance the 63% gain in profit over the last year impresses. But in comparison, EPS only increased by 51% over the same period. So you can see that the dilution has had a bit of an impact on shareholders.

Changes in the share price do tend to reflect changes in earnings per share, in the long run. So it will certainly be a positive for shareholders if Piesat Information Technology can grow EPS persistently. But on the other hand, we'd be far less excited to learn profit (but not EPS) was improving. 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.

How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?

Given the accrual ratio, it's not overly surprising that Piesat Information Technology's profit was boosted by unusual items worth CN¥42m in the last twelve months. While it's always nice to have higher profit, a large contribution from unusual items sometimes dampens our enthusiasm. When we analysed the vast majority of listed companies worldwide, we found that significant unusual items are often not repeated. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. If Piesat Information Technology doesn't see that contribution repeat, then all else being equal we'd expect its profit to drop over the current year.

Our Take On Piesat Information Technology's Profit Performance

Piesat Information Technology didn't back up its earnings with free cashflow, but this isn't too surprising given profits were inflated by unusual items. Meanwhile, the new shares issued mean that shareholders now own less of the company, unless they tipped in more cash themselves. On reflection, the above-mentioned factors give us the strong impression that Piesat Information Technology'sunderlying earnings power is not as good as it might seem, based on the statutory profit numbers. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Piesat Information Technology (including 1 which can't be ignored).

Our examination of Piesat Information Technology 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 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.

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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