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We Think You Should Be Aware Of Some Concerning Factors In Fujian Start GroupLtd's (SHSE:600734) Earnings

Simply Wall St ·  08/06 06:30

The recent earnings posted by Fujian Start Group Co.Ltd (SHSE:600734) were solid, but the stock didn't move as much as we expected. We think this is due to investors looking beyond the statutory profits and being concerned with what they see.

See our latest analysis for Fujian Start GroupLtd

earnings-and-revenue-historySHSE:600734 Earnings and Revenue History August 5th 2022

A Closer Look At Fujian Start GroupLtd'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. The ratio shows us how much a company's profit exceeds its FCF.

As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. While having an accrual ratio above zero is of little concern, we do think it's worth noting when a company has a relatively high accrual ratio. That's because some academic studies have suggested that high accruals ratios tend to lead to lower profit or less profit growth.

Fujian Start GroupLtd has an accrual ratio of 2.31 for the year to June 2022. As a general rule, that bodes poorly for future profitability. To wit, the company did not generate one whit of free cashflow in that time. In the last twelve months it actually had negative free cash flow, with an outflow of CN¥28m despite its profit of CN¥777.0m, mentioned above. We also note that Fujian Start GroupLtd's free cash flow was actually negative last year as well, so we could understand if shareholders were bothered by its outflow of CN¥28m. However, that's not the end of the story. We must also consider the impact of unusual items on statutory profit (and thus the accrual ratio), as well as note the ramifications of the company issuing new shares. One positive for Fujian Start GroupLtd shareholders is that it's accrual ratio was significantly better last year, providing reason to believe that it may return to stronger cash conversion in the future. Shareholders should look for improved cashflow relative to profit in the current year, if that is indeed the case.

Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Fujian Start GroupLtd.

In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. Fujian Start GroupLtd expanded the number of shares on issue by 250% 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. Check out Fujian Start GroupLtd's historical EPS growth by clicking on this link.

How Is Dilution Impacting Fujian Start GroupLtd's Earnings Per Share (EPS)?

Fujian Start GroupLtd was losing money three years ago. And even focusing only on the last twelve months, we don't have a meaningful growth rate because it made a loss a year ago, too. What we do know is that while it's great to see a profit over the last twelve months, that profit would have been better, on a per share basis, if the company hadn't needed to issue shares. So you can see that the dilution has had a fairly significant impact on shareholders.

If Fujian Start GroupLtd's EPS can grow over time then that drastically improves the chances of the share price moving in the same direction. But on the other hand, we'd be far less excited to learn profit (but not EPS) was improving. For the ordinary retail shareholder, EPS is a great measure to check your hypothetical "share" of the company's profit.

The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit

Fujian Start GroupLtd's profit suffered from unusual items, which reduced profit by CN¥108m in the last twelve months. In the case where this was a non-cash charge it would have made it easier to have high cash conversion, so it's surprising that the accrual ratio tells a different story. It's never great to see unusual items costing the company profits, but on the upside, things might improve sooner rather than later. We looked at thousands of listed companies and found that unusual items are very often one-off in nature. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. Fujian Start GroupLtd took a rather significant hit from unusual items in the year to June 2022. All else being equal, this would likely have the effect of making the statutory profit look worse than its underlying earnings power.

Our Take On Fujian Start GroupLtd's Profit Performance

Summing up, Fujian Start GroupLtd's unusual items suggest that its statutory earnings were temporarily depressed, and its accrual ratio indicates a lack of free cash flow relative to profit. On top of that, the dilution means that shareholders now own less of the company. For the reasons mentioned above, we think that a perfunctory glance at Fujian Start GroupLtd's statutory profits might make it look better than it really is on an underlying level. 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 Fujian Start GroupLtd (including 2 which are a bit unpleasant).

In this article we've looked at a number of factors that can impair the utility of profit numbers, and we've come away cautious. 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. 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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