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Why Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology's (SHSE:688670) Soft Earnings Are Just The Beginning Of Its Problems

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology Co., Ltd. (SHSE:688670) recently posted soft earnings but shareholders didn't react strongly. We did some analysis and found some concerning details beneath the statutory profit number.

View our latest analysis for Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology

SHSE:688670 Earnings and Revenue History April 15th 2022

Zooming In On Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology'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). To get the accrual ratio we first subtract FCF from profit for a period, and then divide that number by the average operating assets for the period. This ratio tells us how much of a company's profit is not backed by free cashflow.

As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. 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. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, "firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future".

Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology has an accrual ratio of 0.61 for the year to December 2021. 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¥282m despite its profit of CN¥82.5m, mentioned above. We saw that FCF was CN¥69m a year ago though, so Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology has at least been able to generate positive FCF 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.

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.

How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?

The fact that the company had unusual items boosting profit by CN¥15m, 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 Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology 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 Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology's Profit Performance

Summing up, Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology received a nice boost to profit from unusual items, but could not match its paper profit with free cash flow. Considering all this we'd argue Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology's profits probably give an overly generous impression of its sustainable level of profitability. With this in mind, we wouldn't consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology (including 1 which doesn't sit too well with us).

Our examination of Jiangsu gdk Biotechnology has focussed on certain factors that can make its earnings look better than they are. And, on that basis, we are somewhat skeptical. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. 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. 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.

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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