HM International Holdings Limited (HKG:8416) recently posted some strong earnings, and the market responded positively. We have done some analysis, and we found several positive factors beyond the profit numbers.
Check out our latest analysis for HM International HoldingsSEHK:8416 Earnings and Revenue History August 11th 2022
Examining Cashflow Against HM International Holdings' 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 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. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".
Over the twelve months to June 2022, HM International Holdings recorded an accrual ratio of -0.23. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. In fact, it had free cash flow of HK$20m in the last year, which was a lot more than its statutory profit of HK$10.7m. HM International Holdings' free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see. However, that's not all there is to consider. We can see that unusual items have impacted its statutory profit, and therefore the accrual ratio.
Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of HM International Holdings.
The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit
HM International Holdings' profit was reduced by unusual items worth HK$2.6m in the last twelve months, and this helped it produce high cash conversion, as reflected by its unusual items. In a scenario where those unusual items included non-cash charges, we'd expect to see a strong accrual ratio, which is exactly what has happened in this case. While deductions due to unusual items are disappointing in the first instance, there is a silver lining. We looked at thousands of listed companies and found that unusual items are very often one-off in nature. And that's hardly a surprise given these line items are considered unusual. If HM International Holdings doesn't see those unusual expenses repeat, then all else being equal we'd expect its profit to increase over the coming year.
Our Take On HM International Holdings' Profit Performance
In conclusion, both HM International Holdings' accrual ratio and its unusual items suggest that its statutory earnings are probably reasonably conservative. Based on these factors, we think HM International Holdings' underlying earnings potential is as good as, or probably even better, than the statutory profit makes it seem! With this in mind, we wouldn't consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for HM International Holdings (2 don't sit too well with us) you should be familiar with.
After our examination into the nature of HM International Holdings' profit, we've come away optimistic for the company. 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.
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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.