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Should MLS Innovation Inc.'s (ATH:MLS) Recent Earnings Decline Worry You?

Simply Wall St

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When MLS Innovation Inc. (ATH:MLS) released its most recent earnings update (31 December 2018), I compared it against two factor: its historical earnings track record, and the performance of its industry peers on average. Understanding how MLS Innovation performed requires a benchmark rather than trying to assess a standalone number at one point in time. Below is a quick commentary on how I see MLS has performed.

Check out our latest analysis for MLS Innovation

Was MLS weak performance lately part of a long-term decline?

MLS's trailing twelve-month earnings (from 31 December 2018) of €1.6m has declined by -12% compared to the previous year.

Furthermore, this one-year growth rate has been lower than its average earnings growth rate over the past 5 years of 3.0%, indicating the rate at which MLS is growing has slowed down. What could be happening here? Well, let's look at what's occurring with margins and whether the whole industry is feeling the heat.

ATSE:MLS Income Statement, June 18th 2019

In terms of returns from investment, MLS Innovation has fallen short of achieving a 20% return on equity (ROE), recording 6.2% instead. However, its return on assets (ROA) of 5.5% exceeds the GR Software industry of 4.2%, indicating MLS Innovation has used its assets more efficiently. Though, its return on capital (ROC), which also accounts for MLS Innovation’s debt level, has declined over the past 3 years from 10% to 6.9%. This correlates with an increase in debt holding, with debt-to-equity ratio rising from 5.2% to 47% over the past 5 years.

What does this mean?

Though MLS Innovation's past data is helpful, it is only one aspect of my investment thesis. Usually companies that experience a prolonged period of reduction in earnings are undergoing some sort of reinvestment phase with the aim of keeping up with the latest industry disruption and growth. You should continue to research MLS Innovation to get a more holistic view of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for MLS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for MLS’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Are MLS’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the trailing twelve months from 31 December 2018. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.