The market shrugged off New Hope Service Holdings Limited's (HKG:3658) solid earnings report. We did some digging and believe investors may be worried about some underlying factors in the report.
Check out our latest analysis for New Hope Service Holdings
Examining Cashflow Against New Hope Service Holdings' 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. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company's average operating assets over that period. This ratio tells us how much of a company's profit is not backed by free cashflow.
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. Notably, there is some academic evidence that suggests that a high accrual ratio is a bad sign for near-term profits, generally speaking.
New Hope Service Holdings has an accrual ratio of 0.38 for the year to June 2023. Ergo, its free cash flow is significantly weaker than its profit. As a general rule, that bodes poorly for future profitability. Indeed, in the last twelve months it reported free cash flow of CN¥176m, which is significantly less than its profit of CN¥212.6m. At this point we should mention that New Hope Service Holdings did manage to increase its free cash flow in the last twelve months
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 New Hope Service Holdings' Profit Performance
As we have made quite clear, we're a bit worried that New Hope Service Holdings didn't back up the last year's profit with free cashflow. As a result, we think it may well be the case that New Hope Service Holdings' underlying earnings power is lower than its statutory profit. The good news is that its earnings per share increased slightly in the last year. Of course, we've only just scratched the surface when it comes to analysing its earnings; one could also consider margins, forecast growth, and return on investment, among other factors. Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. For example, we've found that New Hope Service Holdings has 2 warning signs (1 is concerning!) that deserve your attention before going any further with your analysis.
Today we've zoomed in on a single data point to better understand the nature of New Hope Service Holdings' profit. 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.