Medlive Technology Co., Ltd.'s (HKG:2192) robust earnings report didn't manage to move the market for its stock. Our analysis suggests that shareholders have noticed something concerning in the numbers.
See our latest analysis for Medlive Technology
A Closer Look At Medlive Technology'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). 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.
That means a negative accrual ratio is a good thing, because it shows that the company is bringing in more free cash flow than its profit would suggest. 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.
Over the twelve months to June 2023, Medlive Technology recorded an accrual ratio of 0.71. That means it didn't generate anywhere near enough free cash flow to match its profit. As a general rule, that bodes poorly for future profitability. To wit, it produced free cash flow of CN¥69m during the period, falling well short of its reported profit of CN¥189.1m. We note, however, that Medlive Technology grew its free cash flow over the last year.
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.
Our Take On Medlive Technology's Profit Performance
As we have made quite clear, we're a bit worried that Medlive Technology didn't back up the last year's profit with free cashflow. As a result, we think it may well be the case that Medlive Technology's underlying earnings power is lower than its statutory profit. But the good news is that its EPS growth over the last three years has been very impressive. At the end of the day, it's essential to consider more than just the factors above, if you want to understand the company properly. So while earnings quality is important, it's equally important to consider the risks facing Medlive Technology at this point in time. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with Medlive Technology, and understanding it should be part of your investment process.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of Medlive Technology's profit. 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.