SSAW Hotels & Resorts Group Co.,Ltd.'s (SZSE:301073) recent weak earnings report didn't cause a big stock movement. However, we believe that investors should be aware of some underlying factors which may be of concern.
View our latest analysis for SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtdSZSE:301073 Earnings and Revenue History September 2nd 2022
A Closer Look At SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd's Earnings
One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. 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 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 June 2022, SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd had an accrual ratio of 0.31. Unfortunately, that means its free cash flow was a lot less than its statutory profit, which makes us doubt the utility of profit as a guide. In the last twelve months it actually had negative free cash flow, with an outflow of CN¥26m despite its profit of CN¥25.5m, mentioned above. It's worth noting that SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd generated positive FCF of CN¥111m a year ago, so at least they've done it in the past. Having said that, there is more to the story. We can see that unusual items have impacted its statutory profit, and therefore the accrual ratio. The good news for shareholders is that SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd's accrual ratio was much better last year, so this year's poor reading might simply be a case of a short term mismatch between profit and FCF. Shareholders should look for improved cashflow relative to profit in the current year, if that is indeed the case.
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.
The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit
The fact that the company had unusual items boosting profit by CN¥3.7m, in the last year, probably goes some way to explain why its accrual ratio was so weak. We can't deny that higher profits generally leave us optimistic, but we'd prefer it if the profit were to be sustainable. We ran the numbers on most publicly listed companies worldwide, and it's very common for unusual items to be once-off in nature. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. If SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd 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 SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd's Profit Performance
SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd had a weak accrual ratio, but its profit did receive a boost from unusual items. Considering all this we'd argue SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd's profits probably give an overly generous impression of its sustainable level of profitability. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. To help with this, we've discovered 4 warning signs (3 can't be ignored!) that you ought to be aware of before buying any shares in SSAW Hotels & Resorts GroupLtd.
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. Some people consider a high return on equity to be a good sign of a quality business. 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.
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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.