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Underpants Gnome Accounting of the Day: NuVasive Inc.

Today in accounting-sleight-of-hand news, medical device maker NuVasive Inc. announced that its first quarter profits doubled thanks largely to an accounting policy change:

The company said its profit more than doubled to $2.4 million, or 6 cents per share, from $1.1 million, or 3 cents per share. Excluding one-time items like non-cash stock-based compensation expenses, amortization costs, and intellectual property litigation charges, NuVasive said it earned 24 cents per share. The accounting change added 2 cents per share to both measures of profit. Revenue increased 14 percent, to $124.5 million from $109.1 million.

What exactly was this accounting rule switcheroo? A change in the way it “accounts for the value of loaned instruments” that will be paying off in spades for the rest of this year and into the future!

NuVasive said it changed the way it accounts for the value of loaned instrument sets that went into service before Jan. 1. The change is expected to add 8 cents per share to its annual profit. It also said lower tax rates will add 4 cents per share to its annual profit, and greater-than-expected revenue will contribute a penny per share.

The company said it now expects an adjusted profit of $1.20 to $1.23 per share in 2011, with $530 million to $540 million in revenue. Previously NuVasive called for a profit of $1.07 to $1.10 per share and $525 million to $535 million in revenue.

Accounting change lifts NuVasive 1Q profit [AP]
Underpants Gnome Accounting of the Day: CapitaLand Ltd.

Underpants Gnome Accounting of the Day: CapitaLand Ltd.

Sometimes when your profits need a little boost, the best thing to do is change an accounting policy, amiright?

CapitaLand Ltd., a property developer in Singapore has pulled the double-entry sleight of hand to get a big boost in their first quarter profits:

The company […] said net profit for the three months ended March 31 was 101.5 million Singapore dollars (US$82.1 million), up from a restated S$29.8 million a year earlier, and was “underpinned by higher development profits and portfolio gain.” The company’s year-earlier net profit before the revision was S$115.4 million.

Okay, “higher development profits and portfolio gain” sounds a little vague so let’s see what else is helping these numbers:

The large increase also reflects a change in comparable figures for the year earlier due to an accounting policy change at the start of this year.

The new policy means overseas projects and local projects on a deferred payment scheme have to be fully completed before they are recognized.

This will result in “income recognition that is lumpy and back-ended, thus creating more volatility in profit recognition even though the underlying projects’ cashflows have not changed,” CapitaLand said in a statement.

Investors will likely view the results with caution as a result, analysts say.

“As CapitaLand has mentioned, this new policy gives rise to lumpy earnings that are not very meaningful, especially since over 50% of CapitaLand’s earnings are from overseas,” CIMB analyst Donald Chua said, adding other developers with large overseas market exposure will also be affected.

CapitaLand Net Surges on Accounting Change [WSJ]