Raj Rayon Industries Limited’s (NSE:RAJRILTD) stock performed strongly after the recent earnings report. Investors should be cautious however, as there some causes of concern deeper in the numbers.
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Zooming In On Raj Rayon Industries’ Earnings
One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company’s average operating assets over that period. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the ‘non-FCF profit ratio’.
As a result, a negative accrual ratio is a positive for the company, and a positive accrual ratio is a negative. 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 September 2022, Raj Rayon Industries recorded an accrual ratio of 6.30. As a general rule, that bodes poorly for future profitability. And indeed, during the period the company didn’t produce any free cash flow whatsoever. Even though it reported a profit of ₹6.51b, a look at free cash flow indicates it actually burnt through ₹550m in the last year. Coming off the back of negative free cash flow last year, we imagine some shareholders might wonder if its cash burn of ₹550m, this year, indicates high risk. Having said that, there is more to consider. We must also consider the impact of unusual items on statutory profit (and thus the accrual ratio), as well as note the ramifications of the company issuing new shares. One positive for Raj Rayon Industries shareholders is that it’s accrual ratio was significantly better last year, providing reason to believe that it may return to stronger cash conversion in the future. Shareholders should look for improved cashflow relative to profit in the current year, if that is indeed the case.
Note: we always recommend investors check balance sheet strength. Click here to be taken to our balance sheet analysis of Raj Rayon Industries.
In order to understand the potential for per share returns, it is essential to consider how much a company is diluting shareholders. Raj Rayon Industries expanded the number of shares on issue by 15,812% over the last year. As a result, its net income is now split between a greater number of shares. Per share metrics like EPS help us understand how much actual shareholders are benefitting from the company’s profits, while the net income level gives us a better view of the company’s absolute size. Check out Raj Rayon Industries’ historical EPS growth by clicking on this link.
How Is Dilution Impacting Raj Rayon Industries’ Earnings Per Share (EPS)?
Three years ago, Raj Rayon Industries lost money. And even focusing only on the last twelve months, we don’t have a meaningful growth rate because it made a loss a year ago, too. What we do know is that while it’s great to see a profit over the last twelve months, that profit would have been better, on a per share basis, if the company hadn’t needed to issue shares. Therefore, one can observe that the dilution is having a fairly profound effect on shareholder returns.
In the long term, if Raj Rayon Industries’ earnings per share can increase, then the share price should too. However, if its profit increases while its earnings per share stay flat (or even fall) then shareholders might not see much benefit. For that reason, you could say that EPS is more important that net income in the long run, assuming the goal is to assess whether a company’s share price might grow.
The Impact Of Unusual Items On Profit
The fact that the company had unusual items boosting profit by ₹6.7b, in the last year, probably goes some way to explain why its accrual ratio was so weak. While it’s always nice to have higher profit, a large contribution from unusual items sometimes dampens our enthusiasm. We ran the numbers on most publicly listed companies worldwide, and it’s very common for unusual items to be once-off in nature. Which is hardly surprising, given the name. Raj Rayon Industries had a rather significant contribution from unusual items relative to its profit to September 2022. All else being equal, this would likely have the effect of making the statutory profit a poor guide to underlying earnings power.
Our Take On Raj Rayon Industries’ Profit Performance
In conclusion, Raj Rayon Industries’ weak accrual ratio suggested its statutory earnings have been inflated by the unusual items. The dilution means the results are weaker when viewed from a per-share perspective. For all the reasons mentioned above, we think that, at a glance, Raj Rayon Industries’ statutory profits could be considered to be low quality, because they are likely to give investors an overly positive impression of the company. With this in mind, we wouldn’t consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. In terms of investment risks, we’ve identified 2 warning signs with Raj Rayon Industries, and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
Our examination of Raj Rayon Industries 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.
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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.